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Second Appeal Letter
PA ID# 167-UY6NX-00; Gulf Marine Institute of Technology
PW ID# 12410; Private Nonprofit (PNP) Museum Eligibility
January 6, 2011
State Coordinating Officer
Texas Department of Public Safety
5805 N. Lamar Blvd
P.O. Box 4087
Austin, Texas 78773
Re: Second Appeal–Gulf Marine Institute of Technology, PA ID 167-UY6NX-00,
Research Vessels, FEMA-1791-DR-TX, Project Worksheet (PW) 12410
Dear Mr. Patterson:
This is in response to a letter from your office dated July 22, 2010, which transmitted the referenced second appeal on behalf of the Gulf Marine Institute of Technology (Applicant). The Applicant is appealing the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) denial of costs to repair two research vessels (RV), the RV Marie Hall and RV Hot Spot, damaged by Hurricane Ike.
The Applicant occupied a portion of the Moody Gardens Quarantine Building as a marine research and educational laboratory known as the National Resource Center for Cephalopods (NRCC). Power outages at Moody Gardens Quarantine Building, where the cephalopods were located at the time of Hurricane Ike, caused the stock to perish. Flood waters damaged the tanks, piping and support equipment. Hurricane Ike also damaged two docked RVs (RV Marie Hall and RV Hot Spot). The Applicant used the RVs damaged by the storm in the harvesting and support of cephalopod research. The Applicant used the RV Marie Hall, a 65-foot steel trawler equipped with modern navigational and collection equipment, for a wide range of field studies. The Applicant primarily used this ship over the continental shelf to collect live squids and transport them to shore. The Applicant used the RV Hot Spot, a fiberglass boat with an outboard motor, primarily in bays and near shore waters to collect small food organisms for the cephalopods.
FEMA determined that Moody Gardens Quarantine Building was not open to the general public in accordance with Disaster Assistance Policy DAP9521.3, Private Nonprofit (PNP) Facility Eligibility, dated July 18, 2007, which states that eligible PNP facilities that provide essential governmental services must be open to the general public. Therefore, FEMA prepared PW 12410 for $0.
In its first appeal letter dated January 15, 2010, the Applicant stated that the NRCC had a history and mission to be open to the public and planned to continue that practice at the new Moody Gardens Quarantine Building. The Regional Administrator partially approved the first appeal in a letter dated June 3, 2010. FEMA determined that the Applicant had provided sufficient documentation to demonstrate that it met the definition of a PNP museum, as defined in Response and Recovery Policy 9521.2, Private Nonprofit Museum Eligibility, dated August 17, 1999, because it preserved a documented collection of cephalopods and showed intent to exhibit the collection to the general public in the future. Therefore, the Regional Administrator found that repairs or replacement of equipment, supplies, and aquatic stock were eligible for Public Assistance funding. In accordance with Response and Recovery Policy 9521.2, the Regional Administrator concluded that the two RVs were not essential to the preservation and exhibition of the collection and were therefore not eligible for Public Assistance funding.
The Applicant submitted its second appeal on July 22, 2010, including a detailed list of its estimated costs to repair the damaged RVs. The Applicant stated that the RVs were important vessels to the welfare and feeding of the cephalopod research specimen and for maintaining high quality offshore marine research animals. These lab animals required pristine seawater and special marine seafood that could only be gathered and caught with specially equipped vessels in the natural Gulf waters. These RVs were owned by the Applicant solely to support the animal production at the NRCC facilities and were essential to the future of its research and development operations.
In accordance with Response and Recovery Policy 9521.2, Private Nonprofit Museum Eligibility, dated August 17, 1999, administrative buildings and other assets that are essential to the preservation and exhibition of objects for the general public are eligible for Public Assistance funding. The Applicant used the RVs damaged by Hurricane Ike in the harvesting and support of cephalopod research. The Applicant used both RVs to collect small food organisms essential to preserve and maintain the cephalopod exhibit. Therefore, the RVs are eligible for Public Assistance funding.
I have reviewed the information submitted with the appeal and have determined that the Applicant’s second appeal should be granted, in that the RV Marie Hall and RV Hot Spot are eligible for Public Assistance Funding. By this letter, I am requesting the Regional Administrator to 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, Appeals.
Acting Assistant Administrator
cc: Tony Russell
FEMA Region VI