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Second Appeal Brief
PA ID# 000-U04A1-00; Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development
PW ID# Project Worksheets 15430 and 15433; Debris Removal
FEMA-1603-DR-LA, Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, Debris Removal, Project Worksheets (PWs) 15430 and 15433
General Eligibility; Emergency Work; Time Limitation
The State of Louisiana’s Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) requested an eligibility determination for funding to remove dead, standing trees killed as a result of beetle infestation. GOHSEP identified these trees as being located in multiple parishes of Louisiana on the North Shores of Lake Pontchartrain. FEMA informed GOHSEP that damage to the trees from beetle infestation was not a result of the disaster in accordance with 44 CFR §206.223(a)(1), General Work Eligibility, and 44 CFR §206.225, Emergency Work. On January 4, 2007, FEMA prepared PWs 15430 ($3,087,940) and 15433 ($196,215) to cover debris removal costs totaling $3,284,155 and did not fund the projects.
On November 15, 2007, the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (Applicant) submitted a first appeal letter to the GOHSEP, eight months beyond the timeframe established in 44 CFR §206.206. GOHSEP transmitted the appeal to FEMA on January 17, 2008. The Applicant stated that hurricane damages resulted in the eventual death of trees along State
rights-of-way and highways, which posed an immediate threat to lives, public health, safety, and improved property. The Applicant’s appeal did not attribute beetle infestation as a factor in the death of the trees. GOHSEP supported the Applicant in its appeal and argued in its analysis that the dead and weakened trees promoted beetle infestation and that several post-Katrina vehicle accidents along State highways were attributed to the weakened and dead falling trees. FEMA denied the first appeal on April 2, 2008, because damage to trees caused by beetle infestation is not considered disaster-related and not eligible for funding. In its second appeal, the Applicant requests reconsideration for reimbursement of costs to remove dead trees that were killed as a result of beetle infestation. The Applicant reiterates the same position it claims in the first appeal and provides no additional support documentation.
1) Did the Applicant demonstrate that trees damaged and weakened from beetle infestation were directly related to the disaster?
2) Was the debris removal necessary to eliminate an immediate threat to life, public health, safety, or improved property?
3) Did the Applicant submit its first appeal within the regulatory timeline?
44 CFR §206.223(a)(1); 44 CFR §206.225(a)(3); 44 CFR §206.206(c)