The Disaster Declaration was signed on April 12, 2015
In response to Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker’s request for disaster assistance, President Obama has signed a Massachusetts Disaster Declaration for the recovery efforts during the period of January 26-28, 2015. According to the White House press release on the Declaration, federal funding will be available to the following:
Federal funding is available to state, tribal, and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by the severe winter storm, snowstorm, and flooding in the counties of Barnstable, Bristol, Dukes, Essex, Middlesex, Nantucket, Norfolk, Plymouth, Suffolk, and Worcester.
In addition, federal funding is available to the commonwealth and eligible local governments on a cost-sharing basis for snow assistance for a continuous 48 hour period during or proximate to the incident period in Barnstable, Bristol, Dukes, Essex, Middlesex, Norfolk, Plymouth, Suffolk, and Worcester Counties.
Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures for all counties within the commonwealth.
W. Craig Fugate, Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Department of Homeland Security, named Mark H. Landry as the Federal Coordinating Officer for federal recovery operations in the affected area.
According to FEMA the following additional specifications
Payment of not less than 75 percent of the eligible costs for emergency protective measures taken to save lives and protect property and public health. Emergency protective measures assistance is available to state and eligible local governments on a cost-sharing basis. (Source: FEMA funded, commonwealth administered.)
Payment of not less than 75 percent of the eligible costs for repairing or replacing damaged public facilities, such as roads, bridges, utilities, buildings, schools, recreational areas and similar publicly owned property, as well as certain private non-profit organizations engaged in community service activities. (Source: FEMA funded, commonwealth administered.)
Payment of not less than 75 percent for snow assistance, for a specific period of time during or proximate to the incident period. Snow Assistance may include snow removal, de-icing, salting, snow dumps, and sanding of roads. (Source: FEMA funded, commonwealth administered.)
Payment of not more than 75 percent of the approved costs for hazard mitigation projects undertaken by state and local governments to prevent or reduce long-term risk to life and property from natural or technological disasters. (Source: FEMA funded, commonwealth administered.)
Disaster Declaration falls short of Governor Baker’s initial request
FEMA has said that additional designation may be made at a later date if requested by the Commonwealth and warranted by further damage assessments. While helpful, the Disaster Declaration as signed by President Obama falls far short of Governor Baker’s initial request.
In his formal request for assistance, Governor Baker asked that assistance be given for the entire period of historic snow that the Commonwealth received, from January 26, 2015 through February 22, 2015. The actual declaration issued by the President, however, confined assistance to a 72-hour period between January 26th and January 28th.