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Letter to Barack Obama, President of the United States of America - Request for Federal Disaster Assistance

Letter

Date: July 15, 2009
Location: Washington, DC

U.S. Senators Olympia J. Snowe and Susan Collins (R-Maine) sent a letter to President Obama today supporting Governor Baldacci's request for the President to declare a major disaster for Franklin, Hancock, Knox, Lincoln, Oxford, Somerset, Waldo, and Washington counties. The counties suffered significant and widespread damage resulting from heavy rain, hail, damaging winds, flooding, erosion, and landslides which affected the State from June 18 through July 8.

"These storms have caused dangerous conditions and significant hardship in Maine," said Senators Snowe and Collins. "We have been in direct contact with FEMA to ensure that a disaster declaration can be made swiftly and federal disaster resources will be provided to assist families and businesses that have been adversely impacted by these harsh weather conditions."

*Copy of the Letter Follows:

July 15, 2009

The Honorable Barack Obama
President of the United States
1600 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

We are writing to express support for a request that Governor John Baldacci submitted for federal disaster assistance on behalf of Franklin, Hancock, Knox, Lincoln, Oxford, Somerset, Waldo, and Washington counties in the State of Maine. These counties experienced significant and widespread damage resulting from heavy rain, hail, damaging winds, flooding, erosion, and landslides that affected the State from June 18th through July 8th.

These storms resulted in total rainfall amounts that ranged from two inches across northern Maine to eight to 10 inches along the coast and in western Maine, with locally higher amounts. Embedded in this period of rain were some shorter-term heavy rainfall events. This resulted in periods where roads were closed as massive washouts disrupted Maine's rural transportation system. Many communities patched damaged roadways to allow passage of local and emergency traffic, only to see those repairs washed away again. A state-owned bridge in Oxford County was lost, requiring a major detour of traffic, and the roadway remain closed. Major landslides occurred in at least two locations impacting both public infrastructure and private property. The damage in several areas was catastrophic, with damage estimates surpassing their entire road maintenance budget.

On July 2, 2009, the Governor requested a joint Federal, State, and local Preliminary Damage Assessment (PDA) survey of the damaged areas. This assessment began July 7, 2009. Town and state agency reports of damages, verified by the PDA, equate to over $2.5 million or $1.98 per capita statewide. The Governor has determined that this event is of such severity and magnitude that effective response is "beyond the capabilities of the State and the affected local governments," and has requested Public Assistance, Hazard Mitigation and Small Business Administration disaster assistance. The Governor intends to implement the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program on a statewide basis and Maine has a FEMA-approved Standard State Mitigation Plan in place.

We urge you to give expeditious consideration and approval of the Governor's request that you declare a major disaster for Franklin, Hancock, Knox, Lincoln, Oxford, Somerset, Waldo, and Washington Counties.

Sincerely,


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