FEMA denies aid to Texas town where fertilizer plant exploded
Posted in the Kingsland Forum
“Commander & Chef”
Since: Sep 11
#1 Jun 12, 2013
Color me NOT surprised. Can't let a bunch of conservative white people get any of their taxes back./s
HOUSTON – The Federal Emergency Management Agency is refusing to provide money to help rebuild the small Texas town where a deadly fertilizer plant explosion leveled numerous homes and a school, and killed 15 people.
According to a letter obtained by The Associated Press, FEMA said it reviewed the state's appeal to help West but decided that the explosion "is not of the severity and magnitude that warrants a major disaster declaration."
The blast killed 10 first responders and brought national attention to the agricultural community. President Barack Obama traveled to the area to attend a memorial service for the first responders and others who died trying to help.
The FEMA funds would have helped pay for public repairs such as roads, sewer lines, pipes and a school that were destroyed. It does not impact emergency funds FEMA has provided to individual residents.
West Mayor Tommy Muska said the rural community of 2,800 people estimated the cost of those repairs at about $57 million, including $40 million to rebuild a school that was destroyed when the West Fertilizer Co. blew up in April.
"We don't have the money to go out and borrow the money. We don't have the means to pay that note back," Muska said. "There's got to be some public assistance."
FEMA did not immediately return a call seeking comment. The letter, dated June 10, is addressed to Texas Gov. Rick Perry and signed by FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate.
The West Fertilizer Co. blew up after the plant caught fire. The cause of the fire remains unclear -- and a criminal investigation is still open -- but investigators say the heat of the fire destabilized tons of a potentially explosive fertilizer stored at the plant, leading to the massive blast that leveled chunks of the town. The incident highlighted how loosely regulated some chemicals are, including the ammonium nitrate that blew up, and has some critics saying the government needs to tighten its oversight of such plants.
The blast emitted a wave of energy so strong it registered as a small earthquake, knocked down people blocks away, blew out windows, left a massive 93-foot crater and curved walls of homes and buildings.
Marty Crawford, superintendent of West schools, said officials had requested the FEMA aid to help pay for structural damage. An intermediate school near the plant was destroyed, as were parts of the high school and middle school. The district expects to get tens of millions of dollars in insurance money to help pay for the repairs, but needs the FEMA funds to get the job done, he said.
Crawford believes the state could continue to push FEMA to reverse its decision, though it appears the chance of getting federal assistance is low.
"Now we're not out of appeals, but in baseball terms, we're probably facing a two-strike count and fouling a bunch of pitches off," Crawford said in a phone interview. "As long as you've got another strike to fight with, we can hold onto hope."
#2 Jun 12, 2013
Hate to say it. Not a natural disaster, was man made. Damages are going to come out of that company's bottom line, not FEMA. So can we say the town is going to sue one little fertilizer plant. My take is insurance won't cover a damn thing.
#3 Jun 13, 2013
Lone Palm you are nothing more than a goverment supporting leach with your hand out for a check. You really want the goverment spending MY tax dollars to rebuild a private industry? I thought this is what we were fighting against? Oh thats right, its only poor people that should not receive goverment handouts... SMH in disgust.
#4 Jun 13, 2013
Having said that.... Both parties were tripping over themselves on the way to the Jersey shore to rescue those upper white class voters in their fully insured homes.
Saint Marys, GA
#5 Jun 13, 2013
Man made disaster versus natural. Get your head out of your butt.
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