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Second Appeal Brief
PA ID# 000-UB6WH-00; Sumter Electric Cooperative, Inc.
PW ID# 244; Tree Trimming Reimbursement
Citation: FEMA-3288-EM-FL, Sumter Electric Cooperative, Tree Trimming Reimbursement, Project Worksheet (PW) 244
Reference: Emergency Protective Measures
Summary: In anticipation of Tropical Storm Faye debris removal-related activities, the Sumter Electric Cooperative (Applicant) hired debris removal contractor crews and placed the crews in standby mode while waiting for the storm to make landfall. During this standby mode the Applicant used the crews to perform preventative tree trimming along power lines throughout its service area. The Applicant submitted documentation to support $1,134,881 in debris removal and tree trimming costs. FEMA prepared PW 244 to document eligible disaster-related debris removal for costs totaling $736,315. The remaining costs totaling $399,134 for pre-storm tree trimming were determined ineligible because they were not incurred as a direct result of the declared event, even though the costs were incurred during the disaster incident period of August 18 through September 12, 2008.
The Applicant submitted a first appeal on June 25, 2009, stating that it cut as many trees as it could in the projected path of the storm in order to mitigate against possible widespread power outages and damage. The State indicated that although the pre-storm tree trimming mirrored the Applicant’s routine maintenance activities, the tree trimming costs are eligible Emergency Protective Measures as the Applicant’s actions were undertaken to lessen the immediate and imminent threats to lives, property, public health and safety. The Regional Administrator determined the costs associated with pre-storm trimming of undamaged trees were not a direct result of the disaster and that the tree trimming activities were typically handled as part of the Applicant’s routine maintenance measures. In its second appeal dated May 19, 2010, the Applicant reiterates the same position it claims in the first appeal. The Applicant explains that it has a vegetative management program that identifies electric lines most impacted by tree easements and develops a list of prioritized sites for maintenance to minimize tree-related outages as a result of storms. The Applicant instructed idle crews to trim trees as a preventative measure at sites identified on the maintenance list while waiting for Tropical Storm Faye to make landfall.
Issue: Is the tree trimming work an eligible emergency protective measure?
Rationale: Section 502, Federal emergency assistance; 44 CFR §206.225(a)(3)(i)(ii), Emergency work, General.