West Virginia is one of four states that will receive part of a $500 million dollar federal flood-relief package. However, it’s unclear how much of it will be awarded to the Mountain State.
The bill was part of a compromise budget deal approved by Congress this week to avoid a government shutdown. The U.S. Senate initially stalled the bill on Tuesday because it did not include aid for Flint, Michigan’s lead-contaminated water. Senators compromised, agreeing to revisit funding for the city when they return in December, and on Wednesday both the Senate and House passed the bill. It was then signed by President Barrack Obama.
West Virginia Congressman Evan Jenkins spoke with reporters Thursday afternoon saying the federal bill will award $500 million to Louisiana, West Virginia, Texas and Maryland for flood-recovery efforts.
Jenkins says the U.S. Secretary for Housing and Urban Development will decide how much money each state receives for flood relief based on need. He says it will be important for West Virginia to make the agency aware of what happened here in June.
“We are certainly going to have to be proactive, we are certainly going to have to fight to make sure we get our fair share,” Jenkins said.
He points out; however, this will not be the last request for flood relief aid.
“This is a down payment; this half a billion dollars. I will certainly be going back, as I know Senator Capito will be to add additional funding through the appropriations process.”
Governor Earl Ray Tomblin has requested $310 million for federal community development grants to help struggling coal communities impacted by flooding.
Also on Thursday, Senators Joe Manchin and Shelley Moore Capito announced an additional award of $1.5 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for West Virginia.
The money will be used by the Nicholas County School District to replace contents in facilities destroyed or damaged by the June flood. The county lost three schools in high water and had already been awarded a similar FEMA grant to help rebuild.