While the House of Representatives considered the California Emergency Drought Relief Act this week, Congressman Brian Higgins pushed for fair consideration for cold-weather states. This comes as the Federal Emergency Management Agency wraps up its assessment of the damages inflicted on Western New York during the historic November snowstorm.
Higgins and other members of the Western New York federal delegation have called on federal agencies, including FEMA, the Small Business Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, to provide resources to municipalities and businesses incurring excessive costs and damages due to the storm.
Below are Higgins' remarks on the House Floor:
"Mr. Speaker, when a natural disaster strikes, the damage and cleanup costs often far exceed the local governments' ability to respond and to rebuild. Americans take comfort in the knowledge that the federal government will aid in the response by providing assistance to mitigate the often massive costs of natural disasters.
"The recent record-breaking snowstorm in Western New York reminded the nation that Buffalonians are a resilient and generous people. That was on display during the storm and its aftermath, with so many instances of neighbors helping neighbors.
"But the storm also left my community with significant expenses in terms of the emergency response and structures that collapsed under the weight of the snow.
"That is why I joined the Western New York delegation to urge FEMA to act quickly to certify the disaster and disburse assistance. Western New Yorkers are the first to volunteer to aid other communities in need. Now we must ensure a helping hand is there for them when they are need it."
The congressional research service recently issued a report on the issue of cold-weather relief: Major Disaster Declarations For Snow Assistance And Severe Winter Storms: An Overview.