Washington, DC -- Federal disaster aid has been authorized for North Dakota to help rebuild rural electrical utilities in Barnes County crippled by severe storms and high winds that struck the area on June 24-25, the head of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced today.
Michael D. Brown, FEMA Director and Under Secretary for Emergency Preparedness and Response at Homeland Security, said the assistance was approved under a major disaster declaration issued by President Bush following a review of FEMA's analysis of the state's request for federal relief.
According to Brown, the President's action makes federal funds available to local governments in Barnes County to pay 75 percent of the eligible costs for repairing or replacing damaged transmission and power distribution systems of affected Rural Electrical Cooperatives under FEMA's public assistance program. Federal funding also will be available to the state on a cost-shared basis for approved projects that reduce future disaster risks.
Brown indicated that additional designations may be made later if requested by the state and warranted by the results of further damage assessments. He named James N. Russo of FEMA to coordinate the federal assistance.
Russo said that procedures for requesting assistance will be explained at a series of applicant briefings at locations to be announced shortly in the affected area.
On March 1, 2003, FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. FEMA's continuing mission within the new department is to lead the effort to prepare the nation for all hazards and effectively manage federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates proactive mitigation activities, trains first responders, and manages Citizens Corps, the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration.