Durbin Works with FEMA to Clarify Disaster Assistance Policy

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-IL) today announced FEMA’s clarification of a controversial disaster assistance policy that was changed earlier this year. The clarification, which Senator Durbin worked closely with FEMA to accomplish, restores FEMA’s previous practice of funding repairs to levees and other flood control works, including the removal of debris and the placement and removal of flood fighting measures.


“For the past few months, I have been working with Administrator Fugate to establish a clear definition of FEMA’s authority to fund levee repairs, remove debris and engage in other flood fighting measures. Our joint goal was to ensure that local communities receive the help they need, when they need it and are not left footing the bill,” said Durbin. “I am pleased to announce that FEMA has clarified their policy which effectively restored the agency’s previous policy of covering the costs of flood clean-up.”


Earlier this year, Durbin and members of the Illinois congressional delegation met with Acting Assistant Administrator Mr. Walke of FEMA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to discuss concerns with apparent gaps in disaster coverage outlined by FEMA’s revised policy. In that and subsequent discussions, FEMA acknowledged the lack of clarity in the policy as written and vowed to work to resolve the problem.


At least four natural disasters have impacted Illinois in the last year alone, including historic levels of flooding in September 2008. These events have exhausted the resources of state and local governments, making federal disaster assistance a critical part of recovery and restoration.