Washington, DC -- Federal disaster funds were made available today for Montana to help restore rural electric utilities damaged by a late winter storm that struck the state last month, according to the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
FEMA Director Joe M. Allbaugh said President Bush ordered the assistance under a major disaster declaration issued for the state as a result of damage from the storm that occurred April 8-9.
Following the declaration, Allbaugh designated Big Horn County and the Crow Indian Reservation eligible for federal funds to pay affected local governments 75 percent of the approved costs for emergency services related to the storm and repairing or replacing damaged private nonprofit power systems. Funding also will be provided for the state on a cost-shared basis for approved projects that reduce future disaster risks.
Allbaugh indicated that more jurisdictions and additional forms of assistance for state and local government agencies may be designated later if requested and warranted by the results of further damage assessments. He named Peter J. Martinasco of FEMA to coordinate federal relief operations.
Martinasco said that procedures for requesting assistance will be explained at a series of applicant briefings at locations to be announced shortly in the affected areas.