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Second Appeal Brief
PA ID# 071-UQTCO-00; Greater New Orleans Educational Television Foundation (WYES-TV)
PW ID# n/a; PNP Facility Eligibility
FEMA-1603-DR-LA, Greater New Orleans Educational Television Foundation (WYES-TV)
WYES is a private nonprofit (PNP) public television station that provides cultural, educational, entertainment and general interest programming to the general public in the greater New Orleans area. In addition, it participates in the Emergency Alert System and the Digital Emergency Alert System, rebroadcasting emergency notices to the public. Hurricane Katrina flooded WYES’ broadcast facilities and it requested assistance from FEMA to repair the disaster damages. FEMA denied WYES’ request for assistance because it determined that WYES did not own and operate an eligible PNP facility as required by section 102 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (the Stafford Act), Public Law 93-288, as amended, 42 U.S.C. 5121, and 44 CFR §206.221(e).
WYES submitted a first appeal of FEMA’s decision stating that it provides an essential governmental service in the form of emergency communications; therefore, should be eligible to receive federal assistance. The Regional Administrator denied the appeal in a letter dated May 18, 2007, determining that WYES did not operate an eligible educational or communication facility as defined in 44 CFR §206.221.
WYES submitted a second appeal in a letter dated July 12, 2007, stating that FEMA used a restrictive definition of communication services to deny WYES’ first appeal, and that FEMA provided assistance to other public broadcasting television stations in the past. WYES requested that FEMA grant a regulatory exception so that WYES can continue to provide essential emergency communication services to the region. The Regional Administrator’s decision on the first appeal is consistent with program, statute, regulation, and established practice.
(1) Does WYES-TV own and operate an eligible PNP facility?
Section 102(9), Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, 42 U.S.C. §5172, as amended, 44 CFR §206.221(a) and (e).