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Reps. Tenney, Collins, Stefanik, Slaughter and Katko Urge Trump to Issue Disaster Declaration for Lake Ontario Flooding

July 14, 2017
Press Release

Washington, DC—Today, Representatives Claudia Tenney (NY-22), Chris Collins (NY-27), Elise Stefanik (NY-21), Louise Slaughter (NY-25) and John Katko (NY-24) are urging President Trump to issue a disaster declaration in response to flooding along Lake Ontario.

In order for President Trump to issue a disaster declaration, federal law requires that the initial request come from the governor. On July 6, 2017, Governor Cuomo officially requested that a major disaster declaration be issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Due to the severity of this flooding and persistently high water levels, Governor Cuomo determined that the scope of the relief and response efforts are beyond the capability of the state.

In a bipartisan letter, the Representatives cited record high water levels in Lake Ontario and the unprecedented flooding that has had a severe and damaging impact across the eight-county region. Municipalities have struggled to keep up with the costs of repairs for critical infrastructure and without federal support, they will continue to struggle to safeguard and repair existing infrastructure and mitigate against future flooding.

“Recent flooding has destroyed homes and businesses along the Lake Ontario shoreline. During a recent tour of the area, I had the chance to see the severity of the damage first hand. Our constituents and communities have suffered for long enough. It is imperative that they are compensated for the severe and irreparable damage to their properties. That’s why we are urging President Trump to issue this declaration to provide families and business owners in the region the relief that they desperately need,” said Congresswoman Tenney (NY-22).

“Our constituents deserve to be compensated for the irreplaceable damage that has resulted from Barrack Obama’s support for the IJC’s disastrous Plan 2014.  I’ve seen firsthand the devastation that this flooding has brought to shoreline property owners, businesses and municipalities.  Now that the declaration has been requested, it is time that the federal government take this first step towards righting this terrible wrong by providing disaster relief,” said Congressman Collins (NY-27).

“Heavy rainfall earlier this year has caused historic levels of flooding along the St. Lawrence River," said Congresswoman Stefanik (NY-21). “Damage to homes, businesses, and infrastructure has been severe. My office has been working closely with officials at the state level and have had continued conversations with FEMA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Through these conversations it is clear we must act quickly to help impacted New Yorkers. I urge President Trump to approve the request for federal relief.”

“Shoreline communities across New York state have been hit hard by the unprecedented flooding along Lake Ontario this year.  Homeowners, farmers, businesses and municipalities face grave repair costs,” said Congressman John Katko (NY-24). “I’m grateful for Governor Cuomo’s recent action requesting FEMA assistance for these communities, and today joined my colleagues to reiterate the need for the Administration to act swiftly in approving this aid."

The full text of the letter can be found below.
 

July 13, 2017

 

President Donald J. Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave, NW

Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear President Trump,

On July 6, 2017, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo officially requested that a major disaster declaration be issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency for the State of New York in response to flooding along Lake Ontario. As members of Congress who represent areas negatively impacted by this flooding, we urge you to issue this declaration as soon as possible. 

In over a century of record keeping, Lake Ontario’s water levels are at their highest point ever, which has led to unprecedented flooding that has impacted an eight-county region. It has caused irreparable damage to shoreline properties and placed a significant burden on local municipalities. Damage to homes and small business has been extensive and in many cases irreversible. Unfortunately, water levels are not expected to recede anytime soon, meaning that coastal communities that depend on seasonal tourism are being dealt a tremendously hard economic blow.

In addition, municipalities are struggling to keep up with the costs of repairing and protecting critical infrastructure. The water levels have destroyed breakwaters and bulkheads, overwhelmed wastewater treatment facilities, and damaged roads, bridges, and other public facilities. As communities are working to repair damage, they are also investing heavily in measures to protect existing infrastructure and mitigate against future flooding. In all, the costs of such efforts are extensive and without federal support, communities will struggle to meet their objectives.

Due to the severity of the flooding and the persistently high water levels, Governor Cuomo has determined that the scope of the relief and response efforts are simply beyond that of the state. As a result, he has requested supplementary federal assistance through an expedited major disaster declaration. Having seen the extent of the damage firsthand, we agree and respectfully urge you to grant New York’s request for a major disaster declaration as expeditiously as possible.

Sincerely,

Rep. Claudia Tenney

Rep. Chris Collins

Rep. Elise M. Stefanik

Rep. Louise M. Slaughter

Rep. John Katko

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