Lawmakers press for disaster aid for Garrett Co.

Congressional delegation appeals to FEMA

January 24, 2013|By John Fritze, The Baltimore Sun

Members of Maryland's congressional delegation asked the Obama administration Thursday to reconsider its decision to deny federal disaster aid to Garrett County residents walloped by an October snowstorm.

In a letter to Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator W. Craig Fugate, the lawmakers said the weather system — produced by Hurricane Sandy — cut power to the county for a week and damaged 23 homes.

"Garrett County was hit extremely hard by Hurricane Sandy, and the people of Western Maryland will remember this storm and the damage it did for a long time," said Rep. John Delaney, a Montgomery County lawmaker who signed the letter, along with Sens. Barbara A. Mikulski and Ben Cardin.

All three are Democrats.

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley formally requested the aid Dec. 12. The request was denied two days later. The money can be used by individuals for home repairs and other costs.

The Obama administration also initially denied aid to individuals in Somerset County, which was hit hard by flooding during the storm. O'Malley appealed the decision, and the state submitted additional documentation detailing the extent of the damage there. FEMA reversed its decision Dec. 14 and has so far sent more than $1.5 million in aid to Somerset County residents.

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