Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin Monday urged the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to modify the current federal Emergency Declaration to provide for Direct Funding Assistance to state and local government programs and eligible non-profit agencies in the nine counties affected by the Elk River chemical spill on January 9.
“At the time of the Presidential Emergency Declaration, no one knew how long this assistance would be needed,” Gov. Tomblin said in a letter to the agency.
“The response to the Elk River chemical spill is ongoing and many of our agencies continue to work hard to recover from this spill. I urge FEMA to modify the current emergency declaration so eligible expenditures by our first responders, state and local governments and non-profit agencies can be reimbursed,” Tomblin noted in a statement also issued Monday.
As the current Emergency Declaration stands, public and non-profit agencies that have made expenditures to distribute supplies and meet the needs of those in the affected areas are presently denied access to Category B Emergency Protective Measures funding.
A modification to the current declaration would allow eligible applicants in the affected counties to receive FEMA support, including reimbursement.
Tomblin also requested assistance Monday from the Small Business Administration to expedite help for small businesses and eligible private, non-profit organizations.
“Businesses suffered revenue losses as a result of the West Virginia American Water’s DO NOT USE order in addition to local employees who lost wages,” Gov. Tomblin said in a letter to the organization. “This event caused significant disruption to businesses in the affected areas.”
Gov. Tomblin also noted in his letter to the Small Business Administration that even after water was restored, certain businesses and restaurants were required to cleanse their facilities in order to meet requirements set by local health departments.