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Second Appeal Summary
PA ID# 000-92009 ; North Carolina Department of Environment, Health and Natural Resources
DSR ID# N/A; Fire Suppression
Citation: FEMA-844-DR-NC; North Carolina Department of Environment, Health and Natural Resources
Cross Reference: Fire suppression, FEMA Office of Inspector General
Summary: On September 22, 1989, the high winds of Hurricane Hugo caused extensive tree damage in North Carolina, especially in a seven county area. FEMA approved $2,800,000 in funding to assist in hazard abatement and fire suppression in those seven hardest-hit to September 1990. The subgrantee applied for a $709,000 grant from the U.S. Forestry Service (USFS) for fire hazard abatement in July 1990, with a narrative stating that FEMA funding would terminate after September 1990. The USFS grant was awarded on August 1990. In September 1990, the subgrantee submitted a Hazard Reduction and Mitigation Five-Year Action Plan (Five-Year Plan) to support requests for FEMA funding, with no mention of the funding received from USFS for similar purposes. FEMA provided funding for work described in the Five-Year Plan. FEMA's OIG audited the subgrantee in 1995, and found that FEMA reimbursed fire hazard abatement costs through 1994. FEMA de-obligated $709,000, the amount provided by USFS, as duplicate funding. The subgrantee claimed in its first appeal that a corrected February 1996 Financial Status Report (SF-269) demonstrated that the funds were not duplicative, the USFS grant was used for different counties, and FEMA was aware of the USFS grant when FEMA contributed to the Five-Year Plan. The first appeal was denied because USFS and FEMA funding was duplicative in accordance with Section 312 of the Stafford Act. The second appeal is similar to the first, but adds that Section 312 applies only to individual assistance and is not a basis for denial of public assistance.
- Was there a duplication of funds?
- Was Hugo spending accounted for in the USFS records?
- Does Section 312 preclude duplication of funds for public assistance?
- Yes. The funds were obtained from USFS and FEMA for similar purposes.
- No. Hugo related expenses were not accounted for under USFS programs.
- Yes. General Prohibitions of Section 312 apply to public entities.
- It was incumbent upon the subgrantee to notify FEMA of funding being received for a similar project, to avoid duplicate funding.
- The USFS SF-269s do not reflect Hugo related spending until after the OIG audit, and are inconsistent as well.
- Section 312(a) of the Stafford Act states that duplicated benefits are not to be received by concerns , or other entities."