Lufkin, TX -- Obligations by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to the State of Texas and the State of Louisiana to reimburse local governments for eligible costs involved in responding to the Columbia shuttle material recovery operations have reached $2.78 million.
Obligations in Texas have reached $2,386,000. Obligations in Louisiana stand at $396,000.
"We continue working to expedite local government reimbursements to help ease the extra financial burden brought about by responding to this national tragedy," said Federal Coordinating Officer Scott Wells of FEMA.
"We cannot repay all the tremendous contributions of local governments and volunteers, but we will address those costs found eligible under our Public Assistance Program and expedite those reimbursements whenever possible," he added.
Duke Mazurek of the Division of Emergency Management, Texas Department of Public Safety and State Coordinating Officer, Art Jones of the Louisiana Office of Emergency Preparedness have both stressed that the states are working closely with their local governments to assure that all eligible costs are identified and procedures for applying for reimbursements are followed.
Under the emergency declaration President Bush signed for this event, FEMA is empowered under its Public Assistance Program to reimburse state agencies, local governments and Indian tribes or tribal organizations 100 percent of all eligible emergency measures and debris removal expenses. The Texas Division of Emergency Management and Louisiana Office of Emergency Preparedness administer these funds.
Among items eligible for reimbursement are: search operations, securing potential debris sites and activation of emergency operations centers. FEMA and state representatives have met with state and local government agencies to discuss the reimbursement process.
The $2.78 million is the current amount of Public Assistance funding. Additional amounts will be announced as applications for reimbursement are processed and approved.