October 13, 2009 WASHINGTON - U.S. Representative Ed Whitfield (KY-01) continued his efforts to ensure local governments and individuals in the First Congressional District receive critical reimbursement from the federal government for expenses incurred in the aftermath of the devastating ice storms which struck Kentucky earlier this year.
"This past winter, Kentucky suffered what many consider to be the worst natural disaster in the Commonwealth's history," Whitfield said. "During tough financial times, individual Kentuckians and local governments simply cannot afford to shoulder the financial burden of these devastating storms alone. For this reason, I hope that President Obama will reconsider the Governor's request and provide Kentuckians and local officials with the resources they need to get our communities back on track."
Whitfield, along with the entire Kentucky Delegation in the House of Representatives, sent a letter Friday to President Barack Obama asking the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to pay 100% of the costs for repair and cleanup from the ice storms as well as direct Federal Assistance for the first seven days of the storm. The administration recently denied this request from Governor Steve Beshear. The Governor has since sent a letter to President Obama and FEMA Administrator W. Craig Fugate asking for this request to be reconsidered. Whitfield and his colleagues in the House of Representatives sent this letter in support of Governor Beshear's request.
In late January, severe ice storms left over 700,000 homes without power, countless businesses were crippled and communities across the state were left with miles of roads to clear and enormous amounts of debris to clean up. The First Congressional District bore the brunt of these devastating storms, with many in Western Kentucky being left without power for weeks while local officials and utility workers labored round the clock to restore electricity.
Following the storms, Whitfield spoke directly to President Barack Obama and FEMA Acting Administrator Nancy Ward about the dire need for federal resources. He and his staff made numerous follow-up contacts with FEMA in support of increasing the federal cost share for repair and cleanup covered under the major disaster declaration and for individual assistance for the 103 counties affected by the storms.