Barletta Urges Gov. Wolf to Request Disaster Relief Funding
WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) today urged Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf to request that the president issue a major disaster declaration to help communities in northeastern Pennsylvania recover from a recent crippling snowstorm. The storm, which dumped as much as 30 inches of snow in some places, forced local municipalities to exhaust much of their yearly budgets on snow removal efforts and emergency services. Due to the fact that Pennsylvania counties reported storm-related costs totaling less than $18.2 million – the threshold needed for the state to request reimbursement funding from the federal government – local municipalities were left with massive holes in their budgets. Barletta sent Wolf a letter asking him to officially request that the president issue a major disaster declaration to release federal funding.
“As you know, parts of northeastern Pennsylvania, including Luzerne, Wyoming, Montour, and Northumberland counties, which I represent, received more than 30 inches of snowfall,” Barletta wrote. “The affected areas struggled to clear major roads and intersections, which prevented the movement of emergency vehicles and presented a major safety issue for residents.”
By law, members of Congress cannot request that the president issue a major disaster declaration. That request must come from the governor of the affected state to the president.
“After speaking with local officials, including first responders, it is my understanding that the snowstorm was of such severity and magnitude that state and local resources are overwhelmed, and the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) is unable to provide further assistance,” Barletta’s letter continued. “Therefore, I believe it is imperative that you request that the president issue a major disaster declaration to bring much needed relief to these counties.”
Barletta also requested a meeting with the governor to further discuss this request.
Click here to read Barletta’s letter to Wolf.