Tenney calls on Cuomo to conduct damage assessments for federal disaster declaration

Rep. Claudia Tenney

Today, Congresswoman Claudia Tenney (NY-22) called on Governor Cuomo to conduct the damage assessments needed to request a Federal Disaster Declaration in response to severe flash flooding in Oneida, Madison, and Herkimer counties over the weekend.

In a letter to Governor Cuomo, Rep. Tenney requested that the Governor direct the relevant state agencies to work with impacted communities to assess the damage and move forward with a request for a federal disaster declaration, if warranted.

“Severe flash flooding ravaged counties throughout Central New York over the weekend, with some areas receiving upwards of six inches of rain over a two-day period. Throughout the weekend, I spent my time meeting with first responders on the scene and climbing through flooded basements to see the damage firsthand. Residents have had their homes destroyed and their belongings ruined, they need help,” said Tenney. “Although it was encouraging to see our communities coming together to assist each other in this time of need, the recovery from this flooding will no doubt take a heavy toll on everyone impacted. Cleanup efforts will be costly for property owners and municipalities alike. That’s why I’m calling on the Governor to waste no time in conducting the damage assessments needed to request a Federal Disaster Declaration. Should New York State request a Federal Disaster Declaration, I will call on the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to act immediately on the request. My office has already been in contact with FEMA and stands ready to assist however we can.”

Rep. Tenney also called on the Governor to work closely with local officials and the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to comprehensively examine this most recent case of flooding, which unfortunately has become all too common for residents. In July 2013 and July 2014, federal disaster declarations were issued for similar areas after devastating floods caused millions of dollars in damage.

Before requesting that a federal disaster declaration be issued for the region, the state must first assess the damage.

“Residents are frustrated by the increasing frequency of the flooding and while the state has stepped up their mitigation efforts, we must do better to manage these waterways,” Tenney said. “It is important that the DEC and other state agencies work closely with communities to implement more sustainable and effective flood mitigation programs moving forward. I have been actively involved in this issue as a state official in the New York State Assembly.  I continue to remain concerned about the DEC’s interpretation of Article 15 regulations concerning the state’s streams and waterways. I would greatly appreciate it if we could emphasize the importance of placing the safety of the human environment as the state’s top priority.”

Additionally, Rep. Tenney attended a press conference with Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente and Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul earlier today to announce $2.75 million in funds from Oneida County for flood mitigation, cleanup and relief efforts.

The full text of the letter can be found below.

July 5, 2017

The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor of New York State, New York State Capitol, Albany, New York 12224

Dear Governor Cuomo,

As you are aware, Oneida, Madison, and Herkimer counties recently sustained significant damage from flash flooding over the Fourth of July holiday. In the immediate aftermath of the flooding, I request that you direct the relevant state agencies to work with impacted communities to assess the damage and move forward with a request for a federal disaster declaration, if warranted.

Central New York received upwards of six inches of rain over a two-day period. On July 1, 2017, this heavy rainfall culminated in devastating flash floods throughout the region. Having toured the area personally to assist residents and assess the damage, I can tell you firsthand that the destruction is significant. Although I was encouraged to see how residents came together to help each other in this challenging time, the recovery from this flooding will no doubt take a heavy toll on those impacted. Cleanup efforts will be costly for property owners and municipalities alike. For this reason, I request that you do all you can to streamline state assistance to those impacted and that you waste no time in assessing the damage in order to request a federal disaster declaration.

In addition, I would also ask that you work closely with local officials and the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation to comprehensively examine this most recent case of flooding, which unfortunately has become all too common for residents. In July 2013 and July 2014, federal disaster declarations were issued for similar areas after devastating floods caused millions of dollars in damage.

Residents are frustrated by the increasing frequency of the flooding and while the state has stepped up their mitigation efforts, we must do better to manage these waterways. It is important that the DEC and other state agencies work closely with communities to implement more sustainable and effective flood mitigation programs moving forward. I have been actively involved in this issue as a state official in the New York State Assembly. I continue to remain concerned about the DEC’s interpretation of Article 15 regulations concerning the state’s streams and waterways. I would greatly appreciate it if we could emphasize the importance of placing the safety of the human environment as the state’s top priority.

Please know that should New York State request a federal disaster declaration, I will call on the Federal Emergency Management Agency to act immediately on the request. My office has already been in contact with FEMA and stands ready to assist however we can.

Sincerely, Claudia Tenney, Member of Congress

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