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Second Appeal Letter
PA ID# 071-UYCPT-00; Orleans Levee District
PW ID# Project Worksheet 16502; Mandatory Flood Insurance
January 5, 2009
Colonel Thomas Kirkpatrick (retired)
State Coordinating Officer
Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and
7667 Independence Boulevard
Baton Rouge, LA 70806
Re: Second Appeal–Orleans Levee District, PA ID 071-UYCPT-00, Mandatory Flood Insurance Reduction, FEMA-1603-DR-LA, Project Worksheet (PW) 16502
Dear Colonel Kirkpatrick:
This letter is in response to your letter dated August 7, 2008, which transmitted the referenced second appeal on behalf of the Orleans Levee District (Applicant). The Applicant is appealing the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) mandatory National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) reduction of $77,986 from PW 16502.
Flooding from Hurricane Katrina damaged nine switchgears at the New Orleans Lakefront Airport. FEMA prepared PW 16502 to fund the refurbishment of two switchgears of the main distribution vacuum breaker vault in order to get some essential facilities operational on the southern side of the airport. The Applicant completed the repairs on January 10, 2006. FEMA prepared PW 16597 to fund the replacement of nine switchgears. FEMA categorized both PWs as Category F, Permanent Work, and reduced funding for each PW pursuant to Section 406(d) of the Stafford Act. This provision directs FEMA to reduce funding for the repair of facilities that are located in designated special flood hazard areas.
The Applicant submitted its first appeal to the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) on December 13, 2007. The Applicant stated that FEMA incorrectly designated PW 16502 as permanent work because the refurbishment of the switchgears was a temporary repair. Since the manufacturer would not provide a warranty on the refurbished switchgears, the Applicant planned to replace the two switchgears. The Applicant also stated that the electric vacuum breaker unit was not a facility; therefore, it was not subject to the mandatory NFIP reduction. The Regional Administrator denied the appeal on May 7, 2008, stating that the repairs made to the switchgears were correctly identified as permanent repairs of damaged building contents. Further, the Regional Administrator determined that the electric vacuum breaker unit structure met the definition of a building and was insurable under a standard flood insurance policy.
The Applicant submitted a second appeal on June 24, 2008, stating that FEMA should have categorized PW 16502 as Category B, emergency repairs. Therefore, the PW is not subject to a mandatory NFIP reduction. GOHSEP supports the Applicant’s position.
FEMA applied the mandatory NFIP reduction to both PW 16502 and PW 16597. PW 16502 funded the repair of two switchgears and PW 16597 funded the replacement of nine switchgears, including the two switchgears covered in PW 16502. Since FEMA determined that all nine switchgears were eligible for replacement, the repairs funded under PW 16502 must be considered emergency repairs. FEMA cannot fund the permanent repair and replacement of the same switchgears. Therefore, PW 16502 should be categorized as Category B, emergency repairs. The mandatory NFIP reduction does not apply to emergency work. FEMA appropriately applied the mandatory flood reduction to PW 16597.
I have reviewed the information submitted with the appeal and have determined that the repairs funded by PW 16502 were temporary repairs and were not subject to the mandatory NFIP reduction. Therefore, I am approving the appeal. By copy of this letter, I am requesting that the Regional Administrator take appropriate action to implement my decision.
Please inform the Applicant of my decision. This determination is the final decision on this matter pursuant to 44 CFR §206.206.
Carlos J. Castillo
Disaster Assistance Directorate
cc: William E. Peterson
FEMA Region VI
Louisiana Transitional Recovery Office