WASHINGTON, D.C. -- FEMA has published a proposed rule change that spells out the factors used to evaluate requests for major disaster declarations. The Stafford Act requires that the Governor of the affected state submit requests for major disaster assistance to the President. The Governor's request must be based on a finding that the disaster is of such severity and magnitude that effective response is beyond the capabilities of the state and the affected local governments.
FEMA's role is to evaluate the Governor's request and to make a recommendation to the President whether major disaster assistance is warranted. Each request is evaluated on the basis of a number of factors. This process ensures that requests are evaluated fairly and consistently across all states while at the same time it permits FEMA to look at the unique circumstances and needs of each request. In recent years the General Accounting Office, FEMA's Inspector General, Congress and some states and local governments have asked that FEMA publish the criteria used to evaluate these requests.
This proposed rule would not affect presidential discretion, nor would it change published regulations and policies established under the Stafford Act.
A notice announcing the proposal was published in the Federal Register on January 26, 1999. The public is invited to review the proposed rule change and send comments. Comments may be submitted on or before April 26, 1999 to the Rules Docket Clerk, Office of the General Counsel, Federal Emergency Management Agency, 500 C Street SW., room 840, Washington, DC 20472, (facsimile) 202-646-4536, or (email) firstname.lastname@example.org.