FEMA's Missing, But Not Why You May Think
Americans are asking, “Where’s FEMA? Why aren’t they involved with the Gulf Oil Spill”. The answer is as sad as it is strange.
Oddly enough, there’s been no formal request from any of the Gulf State Governors to declare the BP Oil Spill a “Federal Disaster Area”. Instead, there have been numerous requests for aid that would normally follow the formal declaration of a disaster, but without the official declaration. Governor Jindal (R-LA) asked the Small Business Association to, “..declare an Economic Injury Disaster Declaration that entitles local business owners to apply for federally subsidized loans” and asked the Department of Defense to “..approve funding for at least 90 days of military duty in Title 32 USC 502(f) status for up to 6,000 Soldiers and Airmen serving on active duty ..”.
Even though there’s been no disaster declaration, FEMA is offering aid by guiding victims through the claims process on the DisasterAssistance.Gov website. But, make no mistake, claims go to BP not through the Federal government.
“The Administration will continue to hold BP responsible for all removal costs and damages associated with the BP oil spill, including efforts to stop the leak at its source, reduce the spread of oil and protect the shoreline and mitigate damages, to the maximum extent possible under the law.Under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 and other applicable laws, BP is accountable for processing and paying all removal costs and applicable damages incurred by individuals, business, and state and local governments as a result of the BP oil spill. Individuals may file a claim online or over the phone with BP, and may then be asked to visit a claims office location to provide documentation.
So now instead of where is FEMA, the question is, why isn’t this disaster a “Declared Federal Disaster”? According to the Director of the University of Maryland Center for Health and Homeland Security, Michael Greenberger Federal law “gives the president enough leeway .. If this threatens substantial harm to the health and safety and economy of the state, I think he could use the Stafford Act,” Greenberger said, in reference to the main disaster response law.
Well now we have one expert opinion stating that the Oil Spill could qualify as a declared disaster, but none of the Gulf State Governors have made the request as yet.
- Governor Jindal Sends Letters to Dept. of Defense and Dept. of Homeland Security Requesting National Guard
- Governor Jindal Requests U.S. Commerce Secretary Declare a Commercial Fisheries Failure in Louisiana & Requests SBA Administrator Activate Federal Disaster Declaration to Help Small Businesses Impacted by the Oil Spill
- Governor Jindal Requests Resources to Protect Louisiana’s Coastline
- The Dept of Commerce Secretary Gary Locke has announced a “Fishery Failure Determination in Gulf of Mexico” for Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.
- Gov Crist of Florida is trying to expand that “determination” to include Florida as well and has submitted a request to the Dept of Commerce.
- WhiteHouse.Gov offers a collection of statements from involved agencies and links for volunteering. FEMA is not included.
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