Senator Collins And Senator King Urge FEMA To Assist Maine Towns In The Wake Of Crippling Snowstorms

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a letter today, U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Angus King (I-ME) pressed the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to provide relief to towns in Washington County that have been hit by successive snowstorms this winter.

The National Weather Service in Caribou, Maine, has described the snowfall this season as “unparalleled” in the past 100 years or so. These extreme storms have forced businesses to close, left residents stuck in their homes, and restricted access to roads because it is difficult for snow removal crews to keep pace with the intense snowfall.

In their letter to Administrator Fugate, Senators Collins and King wrote, “These back-to-back storms and accompanying single-digit and subzero temperatures have required extraordinary measures to clear roads, streets, and bridges, and to provide basic services to residents, particularly in many of the towns in the eastern part of the county. The storms have also severely taxed already stretched municipal snow removal budgets, equipment, and personnel.”

The full text of the letter to Administrator Fugate can be read below:

 

February 18, 2015

The Honorable William C. Fugate
Administrator
Federal Emergency Management Agency
500 C Street S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20472

Dear Administrator Fugate:

We are writing to urge the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to provide assistance to towns in Maine’s Washington County that have been hit especially hard by a string of snowstorms over the last month. For example, the town of Eastport has endured more than eight feet of snow since January 24, and more is predicted for this week.

These back-to-back storms and accompanying single-digit and subzero temperatures have required extraordinary measures to clear roads, streets, and bridges, and to provide basic services to residents, particularly in many of the towns in the eastern part of the county. The storms have also severely taxed already stretched municipal snow removal budgets, equipment, and personnel.

While we recognize that the threshold for snow removal assistance is usually measured by individual storm, we urge you to take into consideration the cumulative amount of snow that has fallen in Washington County over the past month. According to the National Weather Service in Caribou, Maine, the amount of snow that has fallen in eastern Washington County over the past three weeks is “unparalleled” in the past 100 years or so. Cleaning up after a series of storms that result in many feet of snow is more burdensome, difficult, and expensive than dealing with just one or two “super snowstorms.” There are roads in the town of Lubec that still have only one lane accessible because it is just too difficult for crews to keep pace with the endless storms and enormous snowbanks.

We appreciate your prompt attention to our request and ask that you give it every appropriate consideration. Washington County has been through a particularly challenging period of weather, and we strongly support any assistance FEMA can provide in helping communities cope with these extreme weather events. Please keep us informed of the status of this request by contacting Carol Woodcook in Senator Collins’ office at (207) 945-0417 or Margaret Williams in Senator King’s office at (202) 224-5344.

If you have any questions or need any further information, Mike Hinerman, Director of the Washington County Emergency Management Agency, at (207) 255-3931, would be pleased to describe the difficulties of these communities in more detail.