Summary: Following Hurricane Opal in October 1995, DSR 61998 was approved in February 1997 to map the debris, develop removal and disposal guidelines, and develop contract documents and progress reports for approximately 100 miles of total coastline in the amount of $87,949. In July 1997, DSR 18638 was prepared to de-obligate DSR 61998 on the basis that scope of work was for assessing damage. In October 1997, two years after the disaster, DSR 60514 was prepared as Category A to fund removal of debris from a three square mile area near Navarre Beach and Santa Rosa Sound during August through October 1997 in the amount of $408,539. DSR 60514 was determined ineligible due to the lack of response by the State for requests for discussion by FEMA. The January 1998 first appeal of FEMA's determination to not obligate funding for DSRs 61998 argued that hazards were documented in reported accidents involving collisions between vessels and disaster-related debris. Further, the subgrantee indicated that hazardous materials have been removed from marine waters. FEMA's March 1998 denial is based on the scope of work being for damage assessment that is funded under the statutory administrative costs. In February 1998 the subgrantee submitted a second appeal of FEMA's denial of funding for DSR 60514, a supplement to DSR 61998. The subgrantee states that Stafford Act provides for contributions for "the purpose of removing debris or wreckage resulting from a major disaster from publicly or privately owned land and waters." The State's second appeal letter is based on DSR 60514 being prepared for debris removal, not damage assessment. The State also asks that FEMA "reconsider the denial of eligibility of costs for . DSR 61998 and Supplemental DSRs."
Issues: Is DSR 60514 debris removal work eligible?
Findings: No. FEMA regulations allow 6 months from the date of the disaster (October 4, 1995) for debris clearance to which the Grantee may extend the deadline 6 months, for a total of 12 months. The debris removal activities did not begin until 22 months after the disaster.