Region 6 Tribal Consultation Call - Thursday, April 4, 2013, 2:00pm Central

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Subject: Emergencies and Major Disaster Declarations

Telephone Operator:            At this time all participants are on a listen-only mode until the comment portion Telephone Operator:            At this time all participants are on a listen-only mode until the comment portion of the call. If you’d like to provide a comment at that time, please press star then one on your Touch-tone phone. Today’s conference is being recorded. If you have any objections, you may disconnect. Now I’d like to turn the call over to your FEMA Region 6 Tribal Liaison Norma Reyes.

Norma Reyes:                        Thank you very much operator. Good afternoon everyone and welcome to Region 6 Consultation Conference Call. I want to thank you all for taking the time to call in today and to share your input and implementation of tribal declarations. The purpose of today’s call is to hear from tribal leaders, tribal emergency managers, disaster recovery subject matter experts and other interested tribal members or partners to capture their thoughts, comments and concerns about FEMA’s implementation of tribal major disaster and emergency declaration. This is just the beginning of the consultation process in the open comment period running through April 22nd 2013. Comments you provide today will be the foundation for the development of the pilot guidance which will be used to create the final regulations. We are really looking forward to hear your comments. So please share them with us. We’ll be stopping for comments and then giving you information, stopping for comments and then finally opening it up for comments all together. So please share your comments as we go along.

            Now for housekeeping notes. We will not be taking a roll call today as the operator has captured a list of the participants on today’s call. As the operator mentioned, this call will be recorded and the record of this meeting will be posted on www.fema.gov/tribal-consultation. FEMA is not soliciting or accepting consensus advice or recommendations on federal laws, regulations or policies during this meeting. Rather the purpose of this meeting is to gather individual input from a diverse group of partners. Today you will hear from Region 6 Regional Administrator Tony Robinson. Mr. Robinson is a career emergency manager with experience working with tribal governments at the local, state and national level. He has over 25 years of experience with FEMA Region 6 as resulted in his appointment as deputy regional administrator in 2012 and now as regional administrator. Tony Robinson will be followed by subject matter experts on the Stafford Act, the declaration process, disaster assistance, Individual Assistance, Public Assistance, Hazard Mitigation assistance and cost share criteria. After a brief description of each topic, the operator will open the line for approximately ten minutes for you to provide your comments. The operator will then close the line and we will move to the next topic.

Now we’ll hear from Tony Robinson FEMA Region 6 Regional Administrator.

Tony Robinson:                      Thank you very much Norma. Good afternoon everyone. On Tuesday January 29, 2013, President Obama signed the Sandy Recovery Improvement Act of 2013 which included a provision amending the Stafford Act to provide federally recognized tribal governments the option to choose whether to make a request directly to the president for a federal emergency or major disaster declaration or to seek assistance as they did previously under a declaration for a state. The enactment of this provision is a clear demonstration of the importance that tribal leadership and their governments are to our nation. It follows on the president’s commitments to Indian country, strengthens the government to government relationship between FEMA and the federally recognized tribal governments and will enhance the way FEMA supports tribal communities before, during and after disasters. We commend the efforts of tribal leadership representatives and their organizations who have made this change a reality. The amendment reflects the FEMA administrators’ three core principals regarding tribal governments and those are number one, federally recognized tribal governments are sovereign governments. The Stafford Act now clearly reflects federally recognized tribal governments’ status as sovereign nations - giving them the same status as states when requesting federal disaster assistance. Two, FEMA has a government to government relationship with federally recognized tribal governments. And three, tribal governments self determine the best way for them to address their disaster needs. The Stafford Act amendment now gives tribal governments the choice to request declarations on their own. The tribal governments are not required to make a request on their own. The tribe may continue to seek assistance through a state’s request if they choose. The legislation does not require tribal governments to change their relationships with the states but states cannot direct tribal governments to make a request on their own or require tribal governments to be included in the state’s request. The tribe makes that determination.

            This is a substantial change to the Stafford Act. Changing the Stafford Act to recognize tribal sovereignty is just the beginning. Through this consultation process we want to hear from you - tribal leaders, tribal emergency managers and disaster recovery subject matter experts - regarding the items FEMA should consider as we develop pilot guidance to implement tribal declarations.
We appreciate you participating on today’s call and encourage you to ask questions and provide recommendations to assist us in the development of the pilot guidance. Remember, you may also provide your written comments at the federal register, idea scale and the email inbox tribalconsultation@fema.dhs.gov. With that, I’ll turn it back to Norma Reyes.

Norma Reyes:                        Our speakers today will describe aspects of the program as applied to states and territories. We need your input to modify the requirements to fit tribal government needs.  We will now hear a quick overview of the Stafford Act change from Jill Igrid FEMA Regional 6 Council.

Jill Igrid:                                 Good afternoon. As the regional administrator mentioned, the Sandy Recovery Improvement Act included a provision amending the Stafford Act to provide federally recognized tribal governments the option to choose whether to make a request directly to the US President for a federal emergency or major disaster declaration or to seek assistance as they did previously under a declaration request by the state. Specifically the amendment permits the chief executive of an affected tribal government to submit a request to the president for a declaration that a major disaster or emergency exists consistent with the requirements listed in the Stafford Act section 401 for major disasters or 501 for emergencies. The amendment allows tribal governments to be eligible to receive assistance through a state declaration so long as the tribal government does not receive a separate declaration for the same incident. The president has the authority to waive or adjust the cost share for the Public Assistance program. The amendment also specifies that references to any combination of state and local in the Stafford Act should be read to include tribal governments. And in instances of governor or state should also be read to include chief executive and tribal government as appropriate. FEMA is required to consider the unique conditions that affect the general welfare of tribal governments when implementing this new authority.

Norma Reyes:                        Thank you Jill. We will now hear a quick overview of declaration tribes may request assistance that may be available. We will now hear from Claudia Newburg Recovery Division Program Specialist about the declaration and Public Assistance process.

Claudia Newburg:                  Thank you Norma. Stafford Act assistance is intended to supplement state, tribal and local resources. The federal government will only provide supplemental disaster assistance under the Stafford Act when the state or tribe is overwhelmed and response to the event is beyond the state or tribe’s capability to respond. Upon receiving a request for declaration, FEMA assesses the impact of the event and makes a recommendation to the president. The president in his discretion may determine that the situation warrants supplemental assistance under the Stafford Act and make the declarations.

            Tribal governments can request the following types of declarations - emergency declarations. Emergency declarations are to supplement state and local efforts to save and protect lives, property, public health and safety or to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe. A major disaster declaration may provide a wider range of federal assistance programs for individuals and public infrastructure including funds for both emergency and permanent work required as a result of a natural catastrophe or - regardless of cause - a fire, flood or explosion. The following are requirements for declaration requests. Must be submitted by the chief executive of a federally recognized tribal government. Must be submitted within 30 days of the date of the incident. Within the 30 days of the date of the incident, the chief executive may submit a written request for additional time. Such request must provide the reason for delay. The basis for the request shall be a finding that the disaster is of such severity and magnitude that effective response is beyond the capabilities of the tribe and that federal assistance is necessary. The request also must include confirmation that appropriate action under tribal government law has been taken and that execution of the tribe’s emergency plan has been directed as applicable. An estimate of the amount and severity of damages and losses, stating the impact of the disaster on the public and private sector. Information describing the nature and amount of tribal government resources which have been or will be committed to alleviate the results of the disaster. Preliminary estimates based on a joint FEMA tribal preliminary damage assessment of the types and amount of supplementary federal disaster assistance needed under the Stafford Act and a certification that the tribe will meet all applicable cost share requirements. If requesting a Hazard Mitigation Grant Program or permanent work under the Public Assistance program, the tribe must have a FEMA approved or approvable Mitigation plan within 30 days of the date of declaration. You must also comply with grant administrative requirements and you must also have Public Assistance, Hazard Mitigation grant program and/or other needs assistance administrative plans. More information on these requirements can be found at www.fema.gov/tribal-consultation. Now with that, I’ll turn it back over to Norma Reyes for comments.

Norma Reyes:                        Thank you Claudia. Operator, we will now open it up to comments from tribal representatives first when you provide your input, if you could lease identify your name, title and affiliation before you proceed with your comments and questions. Operator, can we hear those instructions?

Telephone Operator:            At this time if you’d like to make a comment or provide input, please press star then the number 1 on your Touch-tone phone. Once again that’s star one. It’ll be just a moment while we assemble the queue. It’ll be one moment. Questions are beginning to come up. And we’ll take our first question from Josh Garcia.

Josh Garcia:                          Yes. I’m here with my emergency management planner. He’s the one that’ll be asking the question. His name is Steve Cordova. And we’re with Isleta Pueblo in El Paso County Texas.

Steve Cordova:                      We think that a reasonable time period for a tribe to come up with a Mitigation plan would be stated as 30 days. If it’s an initial plan that a tribe would have to be developing or creating, I don’t think 90 days is sufficient time. If it’s just an update of making their Mitigation  plan current, 30 days is still real close especially if there’s a lot of destruction in the tribal area. So I’m making the recommendation that it be possibly extended to 90 days.

Norma Reyes:                        Thank you. Any other questions?

Telephone Operator:            And we’ll go next to Ralph Johnson.

Ralph Johnson:                      Yes, this is Ralph Johnson. I’m with Isleta Pueblo as well. I’m just calling from a different location on the reservation. So I apologize. In talking about the Public Assistance portion of it, it states that a federal share of assistance is not less than 75% and the grantee is usually the state but now it would be the tribe determines how the non federal share is split with the sub grantees. Does that basically state that the tribe can say they’re going to use soft match, hard match, personnel time? Is it left up to the grantee to decide how that nonfederal share is portioned? Do we have to get that approved by FEMA? Is that how that works?

Tony Robinson:                      As far as the - what that talks to is the federal share would be the 75% in most cases and a 25% nonfederal share would be left up to the grantee. In some cases the grantees pay for part of that nonfederal share in not the case of Texas but in several other states. I think that’s what it talks to.

Ralph Johnson:                      Right and I get that that we as a grantee - if God forbid something happens to us - Isleta Pueblo - we get a presidential. We’re going to have to come up with the non federal share but what I’m asking is does that have to be cash or can that be a soft match as in, you know, personal time, equipment, office space. Does FEMA allow us to make up that nonfederal share in that manor or does it always have to be cash?

Tony Robinson:                      Well I guess the answer to your question is when we come up with the cost of a project, we are only going to fund 75% of that project. Does that make sense?

Ralph Johnson:                      Yes, okay. That makes sense. So the other 25% -- we’d have to come up with that right there.

Tony Robinson:                      Yes sir, correct.

Ralph Johnson:                      Okay, now with that answer it states it’s not less than 75%. What are the factors that go into play when you’re determining how much the federal share is? I know it usually is 75% but I mean what kind of extenuating circumstances would push that percentage above 75% and what’s the top point - 95, 100%?

Tony Robinson:                      Well when the president makes that determination and we’re going to talk about that a little bit later in the presentation. But the per capita indicator is $133 of per capita population and that’s a federal obligation. So that would get you to 90% federal, 10% nonfederal share.

Ralph Johnson:                      Grantee share, okay. And then one last thing - I know my counterpart spoke about the 30 days Hazard Mitigation plan but I also believe that in 30 days to request a disaster whether it’s the emergency or the, you know, the two types that you spoke about. I mean to gather all that information and put it together and submit that within 30 days after a disaster has hit a tribal nation - I think we’re asking an awful lot of a very limited amount of folks that some of these tribes have, you know, especially ours to come up with all that documentation and do that within 30 days. I think if we get the Hazard Mitigation, you know, date extended to 90 days. I think that it should be 90 days across the board for also requesting a disaster so we can get our - we go out and do our damage surveys and get all that documentation that you all require together so that we can present that in, you know, some kind of form that makes sense to everybody. So my recommendation would be to also push that to 90 days as well. Thank you for your time

Tony Robinson:                      Got you. Thank you. And certainly within that 30 days there’s a provision for extensions as well and I think we’re going to talk about that later in the presentation because that extension request has to come into before the 30 day point but point taken on the 90 days. So thank you very much.

Ralph Johnson:                      Thank you.

Norma Reyes:                        Operator, any other questions?

Telephone Operator:            Yes. We’ll go next to Josh Garcia.

Steve Cordova:                      Is it on? Yes, this is Steve Cordova with Isleta Pueblo - the emergency planner here.

            And my question is on these plans that we’re going to have to - we’re going to be required to have for instance as the administrative plan, the ONA plan and the Mitigation plan. My question is will there be or is there any type of technical assistance to assistance with developing or drafting up those plans?

Tony Robinson:                      Yes, there is and including the Hazard Mitigatio  plan as well. We here at FEMA Region 6 are standing by to assist. We’re also working by down the road and having a template on what those plans would look like and getting that out to everyone in order to assist in the drafting and producing those plans.

Steve Cordova:                      Yes, we’ve already developed our Hazard Mitigation plan but these other two plans as a grantee - we don’t have those currently because they’re just a plan that the state currently has. So that’s why I’m asking whether there’s technical assistance - especially for that administrative plan and the ONA plan.

Tony Robinson:                      I understand.

Tony Robinson:                      And what you do, there’s an advance...

Norma Reyes:                        Operator, anymore?

Telephone Operator:            At this time there are no other questions in queue.

Norma Reyes:                        Thank you. We’ll proceed then. We will now hear an overview of Individual Assistance criteria from Mark Price Recovery Admission Deputy Director. Then we will open it up for comments from tribal governments. Here’s Mark Price.

Mark Price:                           Thank you Norma.

            Types of FEMA disaster assistance that may be made available by major disaster declarations include Individual Assistance - assistance to individuals and households. The Individual Assistance program can provide disaster housing which provides grants for rental assistance and or home repairs. This is 100% federally funded. Other needs assistance which provides grants for replacement of personal property, transportation, medical, dental and funeral expenses. The Stafford Act sets the cost share for other needs assistance cost at 75% federal and 25% nonfederal. The Stafford Act does not give the president authority to waive the other needs assistance cost share. All other Individual Assistance programs have no cost share.

            Currently when a major disaster request includes Individual Assistance, FEMA uses the following criteria to determine whether federal assistance is needed. These are the current procedures as developed for states and we need your input to modify these requirements to fit tribal government needs. Concentrations of damage - FEMA evaluates the concentrations of damage to individuals. High concentrations of damage generally indicate a greater need for federal assistance than widespread and scattered damages throughout a state. Trauma - FEMA considers the degree of trauma to the communities. Some of the conditions that might cause trauma are large numbers of injuries or deaths, large scale disruption of normal community functions and services and emergency needs such as extended or widespread loss of power or water. We also look at special populations. FEMA considers whether special populations such as low income, the elderly or the unemployed are affected and whether they may have a greater need for assistance. Also voluntary agency assistance - FEMA considers the extent to which voluntary agencies and state or local programs meet the needs of disaster survivors. In addition, we look at insurance. FEMA considers the amount of insurance coverage because by law federal disaster assistance cannot duplicate insurance coverage. FEMA is soliciting comments on whether these Individual Assistance factors - concentration of damages, trauma, special needs, voluntary agencies and insurance - are appropriate for FEMA to consider when evaluating a tribal government request for Individual Assistance. FEMA also welcomes comments on whether there are additional factors that may be appropriate for FEMA to consider when evaluating tribal government requests for Individual Assistance. FEMA is interested to hear what criteria you think should be used to evaluate state request for Individual Assistance. The Sandy Recovery Improvement Act also included a provision which directed FEMA to review, update and revise the factors considered when evaluating a state’s request for major disaster declaration authorizing Individual Assistance. FEMA is required to revise these criteria “in order to provide more objective criteria for evaluating the need for assistance to individuals, to clarify the threshold for eligibility and to speed a declaration of a major disaster or emergency”. I’ll return you back to Norma for comments.

Norma Reyes:                        Thank you Mark. Operator, we will now open it up for comments from tribal representatives first. When you provide your input, if you could please identify your name, title and affiliation before you proceed with your comments and questions. Operator, can we have those instructions?

Telephone Operator:            At this time to make a comment or provide input, please press star then the number one on your Touch-tone telephone. Once again that’s star one. We’ll pause for just a moment to assemble the queue. And once again, that’s star one. And we’ll take our first comment from the line of Ralph Johnson.

Ralph Johnson:                      Yes Ralph Johnson with Isleta Pueblo again - Chief of Fire Safety - over here. One of the things I think that FEMA may want to consider when they’re looking at whether a tribe has been affected by disasters or not is listening to the tribal elders and their cultural people on whether any cultural sensitive sites have been damaged and to what extent they’ve been damaged. And a lot of these are irreplaceable. I understand that. But if it’s going to go a long ways and determining whether they’ve actually went through a disaster or not. I think that needs to be one of the criteria as well.

Tony Robinson:                      Yes.

Norma Reyes:                        Okay.

Tony Robinson:                      Thank you very much.

Ralph Johnson:                      Thank you.

Telephone Operator:            And at this time the queue is empty.

Norma Reyes:                        Okay. Thank you operator. We will now hear an overview of Public Assistance criteria from Greg Eaton Recovery Division Director then we will open it up for comments from tribal government. Here is Greg Eaton.

Greg Eaton:                           Good afternoon. Public Assistance - assistance to state, tribal and local governments and certain private nonprofits for emergency work and the repair or replacement of disaster damaged facilities. The Stafford Act sets the cost share for Public Assistance at not less than 75%. The Stafford Act gives the president the authority to waive or adjust the cost share for Public Assistance. Currently when a major disaster request includes Public Assistance, FEMA uses the following criteria to make a recommendation to the president whether assistance is warranted. These are the current procedures as developed for states. We need your input to modify these requirements to fit tribal government needs. Insurance coverage in force - for state requests, FEMA considers the amount of insurance coverage that is in force or should have been in force as required by law and regulation at the time of disaster. Hazard Mitigation - FEMA also considers the extent to which state and local government Mitigation measures contributed to the reduction of disaster damages for the disaster under consideration. Recent multiple disasters - FEMA evaluates the 12 month disaster history to better understand the overall impact on the state or locality. FEMA considers declarations under the Stafford Act as well as declarations made by the governor and the extent to which the state has spent its own funds on those disasters. Programs of other federal assistance. FEMA also considers the programs of other federal agencies because at times their programs of assistance might more appropriately meet the needs created by the disaster. Localized impacts - FEMA evaluates the impact of the disaster at the county and government level as well as the impact on American Indian, Alaska native tribal government levels. This is because at times there are extraordinary concentration of damages that might warrant federal assistance even if the statewide per capita is not met. This is particularly true in situations where critical facilities are involved or where localized per capita impacts might be extremely high. Estimated cost of assistance - as many of you know, this is a Public Assistance per capita indicator and a one million dollar minimum. FEMA evaluates the estimated cost of Public Assistance against the statewide population. This provides a sense of proportional impact on the population of the state.

            For events occurring in fiscal year 2013 we used a figure of $1.37 per capita as an indicator that the disaster is of such size that might warrant federal assistance. This number is adjusted annually based on the consumer price index. FEMA has also established a minimum of $1 million in Public Assistance estimated per damage per disaster based on the belief that we can reasonably expect even the least populated states to cover this level of Public Assistance damage. We would like to hear your opinion whether these factors - localized impacts, insurance coverage in force, Hazard  Mitigation , recent multiple disasters, programs of other federal assistance and the estimated cost of assistance - are appropriate for the evaluation of tribal government requests for Public Assistance. We would like to hear your thoughts on whether tribal government requests should be evaluated based on damage per capita. We would like to hear your thoughts on whether a tribal government should be expected to cover a level of damage and whether there should be a minimum damage threshold for tribal governments as that applied to state request for Public Assistance. FEMA also welcomes your comments on whether there are additional factors that may be appropriate for FEMA to consider when evaluating the level of impact and tribal governments’ capability to respond and recover from an event for Public Assistance. I will take your comments and turn it back to you Norma.

Norma Reyes:                        Thank you Greg. Operator, we will now open it up for comments from tribal representatives first. If you could please identify your name, title and affiliation before you proceed with your comments or questions. Operator, can we have those instructions?

Telephone Operator:            At this time if you’d like to make a comment or provide input, please press star then the number one on your Touch-tone phone. We’ll pause for just a moment to assemble the queue. It’ll be one moment as questions are beginning to queue up. And we’ll go first to Ralph Johnson.

Ralph Johnson:                      Yes, Ralph Johnson again - Isleta Pueblo - Chief of Fire Safety and Operations. A couple of questions or statements I guess. How does FEMA establish the $1 million minimum for the states? I mean there must have been some methodology you all used to say that states can cover a million dollars. I mean if you had some type of methodology, maybe we can come up with the same type to establish what it is for 566 federally recognized tribes. But we all know $1 million is way more than what should be the minimum threshold that the tribes are expected to pay. But I don’t think we can just throw a number out there. I think there needs to be some kind of way of figuring that out.

Tony Robinson:                      Ralph what would that metric be and how would we look at that? I’m curious on your thoughts.

Ralph Johnson:                      That’s a good question. That’s why I was asking if you all actually had something when you did it for the states or did you just, you know, pull the million dollars out of the sky because you thought okay, most copiers that the states have can handle a million dollars. I mean that’s only 50 states. Now we’re dealing with 566 tribes and you know, we want to be fair but we want to make sure that, you know, some tribes that are better off economically than others. So that’s why I think that portion - to limit the comments on this part of it right here until April the 22nd or whatever that date line is, I think we’re just going to be throwing numbers out there and I don’t think we’re going to be utilizing any type of methodology or some that we should be using to make that point right. So whatever we come up with on this right here or you all come up with - I think that needs to be left open for us to truly sit down and have some good dialogue because there’s a lot more tribes under our states if that makes any kind of sense.

Tony Robinson:                      It does and looking at the per capita indicator for most states, it does exceed the million dollar minimum threshold. So as you develop your thoughts on that, we would be very curious and Norma will talk about other mechanisms to provide that feedback and that is obviously one thing that we’re talking about and spending a lot of time talking about through this process but your input is very valuable to those discussions.

Ralph Johnson:                      Oh absolutely and I guarantee you - Isleta Pueblo - we’ll put our input in but I mean it’s going to be something that, you know, Isleta Pueblo can live with. And I want to make sure we don’t impose our will on any of the other tribes out there because they know the situation they’re in. And secondly - the $1.38 per capita or 1.37 - whatever that number is that you all stated - 1.37. Now is that for all tribal members or is that just for the ones that are living on the reservation or because Isleta Pueblo - we’re a checkerboard reservation. And we have some people living on the reservation, some people living off of it. So would that be all registered tribal members whether they’re on land or not, because I agree we got to have a per capita amount but I think what we need to identify and define is which - what per capita are we talking about?

Tony Robinson:                      It’s a very good question and I guess to answer with another question - how many tribal members would you have in close proximity to the reservation as opposed to approximate percentages on the reservation.

Ralph Johnson:                      Probably on ours - and I’m just going to throw these numbers out there. Josh Garcia who’s also on this call - he’ll probably have a better idea of that number. But I’m going to throw something out there like probably I’d say they were from 70% to 75% are probably proximity to where I mean if a disaster struck our reservation, we’d probably be affected by it. And you also got to remember if it’s checkerboard, we have one area that’s within the city limits of El Paso just to give you a little geography here. Then we have another section that’s five to six miles away from here that could be affected completely different by a break in the Rio Grande or a flood of a river or tornado that goes through there. So do you see what I’m saying? We’re not all one contiguous reservation.

Tony Robinson:                      And I guess one other question is of your tribal members, how many live in the immediate vicinity of El Paso? Is there tribal members that would live in other states far from the reservation?

Ralph Johnson:                      Absolutely. There are registered tribal members that do not live within the state of Texas, absolutely. That number is small and again, I don’t want to go on record as what that number is because I don’t know it but I do know the majority of tribal members do live in the El Paso County area, absolutely. And like I said, that number’s probably 80% to 85% if not higher. So but remember El Paso County is over 1000 square miles. So what affects the tribe may or may not affect the rest of the county of El Paso. So that because we got to wrap our minds around how are we going to identify the per capita individuals?

Tony Robinson:                      Ralph that is a great question you ask and I would certainly ask you and everyone else on the call if you’ve got thoughts on how we do that - how we do that per capita count. I think Oklahoma - their tribes face a very similar issue. We want to hear from you on your thoughts on how we do that.

Ralph Johnson:                      Okay, and again if we can just because the federal registry being 45 days and all that just closes April the 22nd but I’m going to throw this out there again. I think we need to extend that public comment section or the public comment timeline past that date so that we can really give through thought to this. Otherwise, this whole thing has been, you know, just an act of something that’s not going to produce a document that should be as well written as it could be. So I’ll leave it at that and let other people have their questions sir.

Tony Robinson:                      Ralph let me just comment on that and, great questions. As far as the public comment period, it is not - at the end of that public comment period, there is something set in regulation. There’s going to be multiple comment periods as draft regulations begin to be produced and assembled. So this is not the first of the public comment period. There’s going to be multiple comment periods as we go through the process. This process is not a short process. It can probably be measured in years as opposed to months.

Ralph Johnson:                      Well that’s good because I think at the end of those years if everybody’s input is listened to and it’s implemented, I think we’ll have a very good document that represents the tribal nations the way they should be. So I thank you for that sir and I’ll wait for the next time to interrupt you all with my next questions. Thank you.

Norma Reyes:                        Thanks Ralph.

Telephone Operator:            And we’ll go next to Jerry Evans.

Norma Reyes:                        Hey Jerry.

Jerry Evans:                          Hey Norma. Good afternoon. This is Jerry Evans with Kaw nation. Norma, I had been listening into the conversation and got some good input. And the biggest concern that I had reviewing this was the fact that Ralph had just pretty much hit the nail on the head. We need to come up with a better formula for all tribes to assist in this establish of a minimum of $1 million damages per disaster. And also with that a per capita take a look at a formula for a per capita issue. Now this per capita says for 1.37. How did that number come up? Is that a federal number or is that a state or anybody help me out on that?

Tony Robinson:                      It’s a federal number that is started in 44CFR and has been adjusted over the years by the consumer price index. Every year that number is adjusted. So it applies to the fiscal year. And this year it’s $1.37. Next year it’ll be slightly different based on inflation. It could be up. It could be down. And then the per capita indicator for the 9010 split applies to calendar year but that too is adjusted up and down every year.

Jerry Evans:                          I understand.

Tony Robinson:                      I think last year it was $131 and this year it’s 133.

Jerry Evans:                          Okay, so it pretty much it changes annually.

Tony Robinson:                      That’s correct.

Jerry Evans:                          I still think there’s - kind of like Ralph just mentioned - there needs to be some type of a formula that can be helpful because this - after talking to tribal leaders with this - the changes with the Stafford Act. That was one of the things that was our biggest concern. And coming up with a quick fix, there was none. And the only thing that I kind of brought into view is most of this is all we know that if you’re heavily insured, most tribes is going to be okay. But an insurance issue is some tribes are underinsured on some areas in regards to the grounds or buildings that we might put some type of insurance formula together to come up with an establishment of a minimum other than a million dollars to help out the other tribes that can make it, you know, feasible for them to request Public Assistance. As is set now, I just don’t think that the possibility is going to happen and is going to cause some complications with this amendment. So anyhow, I will be willing to come up with ideas and talk to people about what we can do for a formula also to see what we can do to move this issue further.

Tony Robinson:                      Jerry we appreciate your thoughts and comments. And just to touch base on insurance - it’s certainly the first line of defense. And by law we can’t duplicate that offense.

Jerry Evans:                          Right.

Tony Robinson:                      But more importantly I think to your comment is we appreciate your thoughts on - if per capita is not the right indicator to use, what is? And we know through the consultation process and the dialogue that we’ve had on the Stafford Act changes and looking at a metric that wouldn’t be fair to all. So we appreciate your thoughts on that.

Jerry Evans:                          Alright. Thank you sir.

Norma Reyes:                        Thank you Jerry.

Jerry Evans:                          You bet Norma.

Norma Reyes:                        Operator, any other questions?

Telephone Operator:            Yes, we’ll go next to Josh Garcia.

Norma Reyes:                        Okay.

Steve Cordova:                      Hello. This is Steve Cordova again - the planner for Isleta Pueblo. And I want to - Jerry and Ralph were all over that million dollar assistance estimate of damages. So my question is going back to how we determine the damage with the PDA’s. When we conduct a PDA, we have - as Ralph mentioned earlier - we have a checkerboard reservation. So some of our land is under trust and some of our land is simple fee land. But when we’re conducting our PDA and our PDA falls or our damage falls on both - on trust and simple fee - are those damages combined to show the extent of damage and the percentage?

Tony Robinson:                      Thank you for the question. And again, I’ll come back to it with a question just to understand a little bit about the trust land and the fee simple. Is there a record that we would have that you would bring along in the PDA so we can look at the different types of tribal lands as we’re going through the PDA? I guess the question is that information readily available or is it a little harder to get to that you could not do it with a PDA?

Steve Cordova:                      What you’re trying to say in the PDA, is there something readily distinguishing whether it’s on cross land or whether it’s fee simple? Is that your question?

Tony Robinson:                      Yes, just as far as your records. Is it something readily producible so we can see the types of tribal lands in trusts or fee simple?

Steve Cordova:                      Yes, we do. We have records indicating all our land whether it’s trust or fee simple. But my question is I mean damage is damage whether it’s trust land or fee simple. Can it all be combined as one to make the - to try to get to the threshold.

Tony Robinson:                      Yes, it would all be combined as long as the tribe owns the property and is responsible for maintenance and met those eligibility criteria. It would all be combined.

Steve Cordova:                      Okay, great. Thank you.

Norma Reyes:                        Thank you Ralph. Operator?

Telephone Operator:            We’ll go next to Daryl Holaday.

Norma Reyes:                        Hi Daryl. Daryl?

Daryl Holaday:                      Hi Norma.

Norma Reyes:                        Hi.

Daryl Holaday:                      Had you muted.

Norma Reyes:                        Okay. Glad we can hear you. We can hear you on the line.

Daryl Holaday:                      I’m glad to see you guys. This is Daryl Holaday Director of Emergency Management for the Choctaw Nation. My question and it kind of goes along with just the land mass. You know, we cover 10 1/2 counties - 11,000 square miles - but it’s not reservation. So, you know, take an example. A couple of years ago we had a tornado that hit an area and then spun off other tornadoes that hit other areas. There was very little damages in the other areas.

            So when we look at making a declaration, are we going to look at the full 11,000 square miles or simply where the majority of the damage is affected I guess? It’s not like a city that gets hit by a tornado. You know, we’re looking at a mass, mass area.

Tony Robinson:                      Thank you for your question. And just with states, obviously we’re looking at counties or parishes for the state. For the Choctaw Nation, is there districts that we should look at? And I guess I’m curious on your thoughts whether we should break it down to different components or look at the tribal nation as a whole.

Daryl Holaday:                      From our standpoint, we would want to look at it as a whole. You know, we may have a tornado that hits one area but jumps and takes out, you know, a few facilities or something in another area. That area may not - by itself - meet the disaster threshold but the entire disaster in itself, you know, would meet it. Now I understand if a tornado happens on a Monday and another one happens on a Wednesday, that’s two different events. But in the, you know, scope of a storm that comes through on one day that hits five different counties that’s still within the jurisdictional boundaries of the Choctaw nation, that should be one event. You know, it’s in the boundary of the Choctaw Nation. So that should count as the one event where we do the PDA’s.

Tony Robinson:                      Certainly. The way we are discussing and looking at this would be the tribal - it’s not in smaller jurisdictional areas but as the tribal nation as a whole is most of the discussion that we have. So I appreciate your question and  but if you think that we should look at a smaller level which doesn’t sound like the case, let us know. Yes, we’re looking at it at a whole.

Daryl Holaday:                      Okay. One more quick one and I’ll get off here.

Tony Robinson:                      No problem. Take your time.

Daryl Holaday:                      So, you know, the state declares a, you know, asks for a declaration. They get funding and then tribes - the city, the county - can go through the state to file that because Oklahoma will get an additional 12.5%. If the tribe is the only one that qualifies for that and the state does not, would that make eligible the cities and counties to come to the tribe to look for reimbursement for their piece of their response?

Tony Robinson:                      No. If the tribe came in directly to the president for their own declaration, it would not include the other cities, counties and other jurisdictions that are not part of the tribe.

Daryl Holaday:                      Okay. That spuds another one. In that instance when we respond, we’re responding to the community. We’re not just responding to tribal members. So we meet the declaration. We get federal funding. Is the work that we do on non tribal facilities or non tribal structures qualify within our reimbursement?

Tony Robinson:                      As far as the work outside of the disaster, that would typically not be eligible. But that’s probably something we would need to look at really on a case by case basis.

            If there was a separate declaration on the other side, usually the eligible applicant would be the entity that you were assisting through eMac and that reimbursement process. So if you helped other folks, that typically would not be eligible.

Daryl Holaday:                      Okay, thank you.

Norma Reyes:                        Thank you Daryl. Operator, anyone else?

Telephone Operator:            We’ll go next to Josh Garcia.

Steve Cordova:                      Yes, this is Steve Cordova again.

            I just wanted to mention that I had mentioned that the PDA - the disaster assessment on different types of land - on cross land and fee simple land. But what I wanted to mention was that if you have something that your Mitigation  plan and it’s already been approved by FEMA andyou have items that are on cross land and you have property that’s fee simple. And they’ve been approved on your Mitigation  plan. Is that sufficient to claim your disaster? Would that be correct?

Sandy Keith:              This is Sandy Keith.

            The identification of the risk in your Hazard Mitigation plan - to my knowledge - has no bearing on the eligibility for Public Assistance or Individual Assistance.

Steve Cordova:                      That’s correct. It would just be for whatever you want to apply for under the Mitigation program?

Sandy Keith:              Not even that but ideally you would want to apply to the Hazard Mitigation program. But it’s really a way for you to identify your risks and plan for them whether you fund them through the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program or not.

Steve Cordova:                      Okay.

Norma Reyes:                        Thank you Ralph - I mean Steve. Thanks Steve.

Steve Cordova:                      We’re interchangeable.

Norma Reyes:                        Operator?

Telephone Operator:            At this time the queue is empty.

Norma Reyes:                        Thank you very much. We will now hear a brief overview of Hazard Mitigation assistance from Sandy Keith Region 6 Deputy Director, Mitigation Division. Then we will open it up to comments from tribal government. Here’s Sandy Keith.

Sandy Keith:              Good afternoon. Hazard Mitigation assistance is assistance to state, tribal and local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations for actions taken to prevent or reduce long term risk to life and property from natural hazards. The Stafford Act allows the president to contribute up to 75% of the cost of Hazard Mitigation. Total Mitigation funding for disaster is based on a percentage up to 15% of the total obligation for the disaster. Let me emphasize. If the question has a Mitigation Grant Program or permanent work under the Public Assistance program, the tribe must have a FEMA approved or approvable Mitigation plan within 30 days of the date of declaration. FEMA welcomes comments on whether 30 days is an appropriate amount of time for tribal governments to submit an approved or approvable tribal Mitigation plan during the pilot program. FEMA also welcomes comments on whether there are circumstances that may prevent tribal governments from submitting a tribal Mitigation plan or a request for an extension within this time frame. With that, I will turn it back to Norma Reyes for comments.

Norma Reyes:                        Thank you Sandy. Operator, we will now open it up for comments from tribal representatives first. Please identify your name, title and affiliation before you proceed with your comments or questions. Operator, can we have those instructions?

Telephone Operator:            At this time if you’d like to make a comment or provide input, please press star and the number one on your Touch-tone phone. We’ll pause for a moment to assemble the queue. And once again, that’s star one to make a comment or provide input.

            We’ll go first to Josh Garcia.

Josh Garcia:                          Yes, this is Josh Garcia. So we, you know, we already made the comment about our recommendation for 90 days as opposed to the 30 days. But I’d like to make a point by asking the question - how many of the 50 states in the United States do not have a Hazard Mitigation plan at all?

Norma Reyes:                        Zero - they all have one.

Josh Garcia:  Very good. My next - then my comment is that now we’re dealing with 500 plus tribal nations. Some might have a Mitigation plan. Others are drafting one to submit which is our case. But many others have never created a Hazard Mitigation plan. And having gone through the process of doing our own tribal Mitigation plan, prior to this experience we were part of the multijurisdictional plan in the El Paso regional area. But we have since made a commitment to do our own plan. And having gone through the process, it took us approximately three months and we committed to try and have public comment in our process. We understood that we didn’t necessarily have to do that. We felt like even three months wasn’t enough. So going back to the point that was made earlier that if a tribe would not have a Hazard Mitigation plan and they would experience a disaster and they were being asked to create one in 30 days, trying to deal with their disaster and trying to compile all the information to try and put a Hazard Mitigation plan in 30 days. It is just nearly impossible. And that’s the point - that’s the comment I wanted to make.

Norma Reyes:                        Thank you Josh. Appreciate that.

            Operator?

Telephone Operator:            We’ll go next to Ralph Johnson.

Ralph Johnson:                      Hello everybody. Ralph Johnson again - Isleta Pueblo, Chief of Fire Safety and Operations. Just I guess a question and then a clarification of something. So this goes back to what Josh just mentioned. Isleta Pueblo - we used to be part of the regional Mitigation plan. So let’s say this doesn’t affect us by I’m just curious. I’m asking maybe for other tribes out there. What if they are part of a regional Mitigation plan but it’s not their own? Would that Mitigation plan suffice for your all’s needs and if it doesn’t, I think you all should really look at that because a lot of drives - we’ve all been saying you have very limited resources. But at least if they have jumped on the band wagon and have worked with their regional partners and have been part of a regional Mitigation  planning team and they have a plan that truly represents some of their issues and what have you. I think you should allow that Mitigation to that Mitigation  plan to work for them. That’s just one comment that I have and I don’t know if you all would be willing to do that or not.

But then you also mentioned 15% of whatever the disaster was, that’s how much would be made available for Mitigation efforts. I think maybe we need to look at for tribal nations - and I don’t know if you can do this under the Stafford Act - but bumping that 15% up to maybe 25 to 30% because some of the declarations - they’re not going to meet these massive thresholds that some of the states are meeting just because of the economics and all of the other factors that we put into play. So 15% of a disaster for a tribe - that’s not going to be a lot of money for them to work with to mitigate some of the many hazards that they have. And a lot of these are dealing with flood issues, and racing roads and fixing bridges. And I mean those costs are still extremely high but if it’s 15% of a smaller number, you’re not going to have the money available to mitigate the hazards that you have. So my suggestion is we bump that 15% up quite a bit.

Norma Reyes:                        Okay, thank you Ralph.

Ralph Johnson:                      Yes ma’am. Thank you all very much.

Norma Reyes:                        Thank you. Operator?

Telephone Operator:            At this time the queue is empty.

Norma Reyes:                        Thank you very much. Now that we have heard some background on FEMA’s declaration process for disaster assistance and the change to the Stafford Act, we will now hear about cost share criteria from Mark Price and then I’ll open it up for comments from tribal governments. Here’s Mark Price.

Mark Price:                           Thanks again Norma. As previously discussed, most types of disaster assistance provided under the Stafford Act have nonfederal cost share requirements. The Stafford Act sets the cost share for other needs assistance at 75% federal and 25% nonfederal. The Stafford Act sets federal cost share for Public Assistance at not less than 75%. The Stafford Act also allows the president to contribute up to 75% of the cost of Hazard Mitigation. The president may only adjust the nonfederal cost share for Public Assistance. The discretion to adjust or waive the nonfederal cost share rests solely with the president. FEMA’s regulations outline the criteria FEMA uses to recommend to the president whether an adjustment to the federal cost share is warranted. Currently FEMA will recommend to the president to adjust the federal cost share from 75% to not more than 90% when actual federal obligations under the Stafford Act meet or exceed $1.33 per capita of state populations. This number is adjusted annually for inflation. In making this recommendation, FEMA may also consider the impact of major disaster declarations in the state during the previous 12 months. FEMA is soliciting comments on whether the per capita threshold used for states would be appropriate for evaluating whether to recommend a cost share adjustment for tribal declarations. FEMA also welcomes comments on what other factors may be appropriate for FEMA to consider when evaluating potential cost share adjustments from tribal declarations.

Norma Reyes:                        Thank you Mark. Operator, we’ll now open it up for comments from tribal governments first. If you’ll please identify your name, title and affiliation before you proceed with your comments or questions. Operator, can we have those instructions?

Telephone Operator:            If you’d like to make a comment or provide input, please press star then the number one on your Touch-tone phone. We’ll pause for a moment to assemble the queue.n And once again, that’s star one to make a comment or provide input. We’ll go first to Josh Garcia.

Josh Garcia:                          Alright, this is Josh Garcia again - Emergency Management Coordinator, Isleta Pueblo. I just kind of crunched some numbers based on that per capita for state population. And since tribal nations are being looked at as kind of at the same level, you know, yes, earlier in the conference call or I believe a previous conference call somebody said anywhere where we see state, we’re plugging in tribe, right. And so with our population and I’m throwing a number out too. It’s not accurate just like Rob was saying. But just for estimation purposes - 3000. The per capita rate that the state has right now is 133 but in order for us to meet that million dollar minimum threshold, we would have to have $333.34 per capita rate to meet that. So I mean the point is obvious. We’re looking for something that’s more reasonable but just to kind of put it in perspective with our population, again I guess we’re kind of like a midsized to small tribe as far as population. I realize there’s a lot of other tribes that have a lot of greater population than we do but just to kind of put it in perspective.

Tony Robinson:                      Josh thanks. We’ve actually done the same. We’ve gotten - I’ve done a couple of spreadsheets looking at different populations of tribes and how that impacts the per capita indicators work against that million dollar minimum. And there’s certainly tribes that would greatly exceed the 9010 cost share requirements and still not get to a declaration based on the million dollar minimum. That said though, the president and solely the president makes a determination of the declaration. So the criteria does not always apply. The president can make a determination to go outside of this criteria.

Josh Garcia:                          Thank you.

Norma Reyes:                        Thank you Josh. Operator?

Telephone Operator:            We’ll go next to Daryl Holaday.

Daryl Holaday:                      Hello, it’s me again. One of the things I’d just like to mention when we’re looking at the PDA’s and we’re looking at that threshold is, you know, with states and counties, a lot of them have utilities whereas especially here and I’m not sure about the reservation tribes - whether they have their own utilities. But, you know, especially here in Oklahoma, we don’t have utilities. We don’t have our own roadways. And that’s where you get a lot of money to meet that declaration from a state or local level. So we take that factor out. Now we’re only left with our facilities. And, you know, if a tornado just happens to hit one of our facilities and knocks down 50 homes beside the facility, you’re looking at probably a big disparity of, you know, probably tribal losses versus just the community losses. So I think that’s a factor that we’ve got to consider for sure.

Tony Robinson:                      Certainly. Thank you and agreed. If a tornado for example hit a structure, that structure was insured and they did not hit the 15 homes that were close by that may not lead to a presidential declaration.

Norma Reyes:                        Any other comments Daryl.

Daryl Holaday:                      I’m good.

Norma Reyes:                        Okay, thank you.

Daryl Holaday:                      Thank you.

Norma Reyes:                        Operator?

Telephone Operator:            We’ll go next to Jerry Evans.

Jerry Evans:                          Norma, this is Jerry again. Real quick to reiterate; now being a grantee for declaration, in the process we see that the threshold is not going to be obtained. Is there any way that we can go back - if there’s a declaration to a state - and become a sole grantee underneath them on that given disaster or is it too late to get involved?

Tony Robinson:                      Very good question and we’ve actually discussed that as well. And looking at the timeline for the states and or the tribe through that process. There is in provision and law and regulation now, after the declaration there is - for state there would be a time period to where the state could add on jurisdictions following the declaration. And certainly within that time period what would fit for the tribe to come under the stage as well.

Jerry Evans:                          Very good. Thank you.

Norma Reyes:                        Thank you Jerry. Operator?

Telephone Operator:            At this time the queue is empty.

Norma Reyes:                        Thank you very much. Now that we have heard some background on FEMA’s Individual Assistance program - assistance under the business program, Public Assistance, cost share and the change to the Stafford Act, we will now move to the part of the agenda where we want to hear from you on the open forum. This is where we ask tribal presidents, governors, chiefs, chairs or other executive members to hear their voice and put their concerns. Basically just let us know what you think at this point - anything you want to share with us. Operator, we will now open it up for comments from tribal representatives first. If you’ll please identify your name, title, affiliation before you proceed with your comments or questions.

Operator, can we have those instructions?

Telephone Operator:            At this time if you’d like to make a comment or provide input, please press star then the number one on your Touch-tone phone. We’ll pause for a moment to assemble the queue. And once again that’s star one to make a comment or provide input. We’ll go first to Ralph Johnson.

Ralph Johnson:                      Just a couple of things I wanted to add to the very end and I’ve touched on them already. Again, this is Ralph Johnson Isleta Pueblo, Chief of Fire Safety and Operations. I think with now that the tribes are going to be considered the grantees and no longer sub grantees in most cases and like you stated, we can still go through the state if certain thresholds aren’t met. But if we’re going to be the grantees, I think FEMA’s going to have to realize - and it sounds like you all have but I just want to reiterate - that the technical assistance is going to be required for the 556 federally recognized tribes to write these - the writing of administrative plans, Mitigation  plans, the other needs assistance administrative plans. All these plans that are going to be required of us, you know, once we do get a disaster declared and for us to start receiving the money, what have you. We’re going to need a lot of assistance in writing these plans and maintaining and what have you. So FEMA, I just hope you’re ready to start hiring a whole bunch of people to start helping a lot of folks out there that are going to need a lot of help. So I just wanted to throw that out there and I’m sure you all have thought about it. And secondly and I know you said it already and I’ve said it three or four times but I just want to keep hitting home that we need to extend the public comments timeline. So because like you all said, it’s going to take a couple of years to get this all straightened out but I just wanted to keep hammering that home as well. And I think you all are doing a good job and I appreciate it. I’ll let somebody else speak. Thank you.

Tony Robinson:                      Ralph thanks and one thing I would even throw into that with all the administrative plans is the actual request.

Ralph Johnson:                      Absolutely.

Tony Robinson:                      On that process and certainly we realize that the technical assistance from the very beginning will be involved in that whole process.

Ralph Johnson:                      I think that’s a great idea and we have a venue where I mean I know a lot of tribes have utilized it. Some may have not. But EMI is a fantastic institute. It’s a great place for you all to throw some more money into and start getting some, you know, tribes out there to start learning these different ways of how to go about doing the things that we’re going to be asked to do. So but again, thank you all very much for reaching out to us.

Tony Robinson:                      Also Ralph just before we end here today, the - I know there’s organizations within Oklahoma. How about within Texas as far as the tribes?

Ralph Johnson:                      Now define organizations.

Tony Robinson:                      Is there some organization within the Texas tribes that where everyone was together where it would be a good opportunity to meet face to face.

Ralph Johnson:                      I’m going to say that you know that there’s only three recognized tribes left in the state of Texas which still boggles my mind that there’s so few but there’s only three. And I’ll let Josh answer this question but there’s none that I know of strictly for the state of Texas. Now I know our Pueblo is part of a Pueblo organization that includes all the Pueblos of New Mexico. That doesn’t include all the tribes in New Mexico, just the Pueblos. And we’re part of that organization. So there are organizations out there but and I know we’re a member of that one but I do not believe that the state of Texas that the three tribes that are left have formulated any type of true organization but I’ll let Josh answer that one sir. Again, thank you all very much.

Norma Reyes:                        Thank you. Any other comments?

Telephone Operator:            And we’ll go next to Daryl Holaday.

Daryl Holaday:                      Thank you. Daryl Holaday Choctaw Nation, Director of Emergency Management. Just kind of echo what the last caller said. You know, we appreciate everything that you guys do and I wear Norma out when we get on this call.

Norma Reyes:                        No you don’t.

Daryl Holaday:                      But anything that strengthens the sovereignty of the tribes - I don’t think any of the 566 tribes would knock that. We just want to make sure that this is right for all the tribes. And then on a final note and I apologize if it came up and I missed it. But, you know, there’s going to be a point to where the disaster’s large enough that the state and a tribe or multiple tribes would qualify for declaration and reimbursement. How are you guys going to decide who gets what and how much of the pot for each applicant I guess is kind of where I would end that. And then again, you know, we look forward to future calls on this and getting this thing right for everybody.

Tony Robinson:                      Daryl we look forward to the future calls and relationship as well. And as far as a pot of money - if you will - it’s all based on the disaster relief fund. And for Individual Assistance there’s limits of assistance as far as an annual limit of Individual Assistance. But in Public Assistance it’s all based on eligibility. So there is no finite pot if you will.

Daryl Holaday:                      Okay.

Tony Robinson:                      It’s all based on what is eligible for each organization or each jurisdiction.

Daryl Holaday:                      Very good. Thank you.

Norma Reyes:                        Thank you. Operator?

Telephone Operator:            And we’ll go next to Josh Garcia.

Josh Garcia:                          Yes, this is Josh Garcia Emergency Management Coordinator, Isleta Pueblo. Yes, Ralph was correct. There is no Texas travel association. We had our Texas emergency management conference meeting last week and all three of the tribes - we were able to get together for a short little period and make contact for the first time in several years. The Kickapoo’s don’t really have any kind of emergency management program established. So we are really interested - both the Alabama Catawba, Willa Solistine and myself were really interested in making contact with them and trying to see if there is any way that we could kind of try and bring them up to speed. As you know, when you get into this kind of line of work it can really be overwhelming. So we sympathize with our brothers but, you know, we want to try and help them as much as we can. So any effort that we can make to stay connected and network in helping each other to in this area and all the different areas - we’re very interested in that. So if anything, stay connected through phone calls. You got to understand, we’re separated by several hundred miles clear at the opposite ends of states - both East, West and North and South. So there’s quite a challenge there but we are interested in staying connected that way.

I also wanted to mention that whatever tribes are on the call that have some kind of capacity and have not worked on the Hazard Mitigation plan, I think that would be a good start for us to do that. I realize that we are way behind the curb compared to states and their status of preparedness compared to ours. Even the most advanced - I think the most prepared tribal nation is still, you know, still lacks some. And that’s my opinion. I’m not really going to speak for anyone else but based on what I’ve seen. But we can kind of do our part and I think this is a start. We’ve always been proactive in that and I think this can be a start. And I understand the challenges that tribes have and so, you know, those that are able to, you know, if anything you can make calls to other tribal nations that have experienced these plans like we have and we’d be happy to share it, especially with tribal nations. But we don’t even limit ourselves to the help in giving it to even other neighbors that aren’t tribal because we understand the amount of work that goes into putting a plan together. I want to thank Mr. Robinson. It was a pleasure meeting you at the conference sir and thank you for these opportunities. To Norma Reyes too and FEMA Region 6 for this opportunity and we look forward to making more comments in the future.

Norma Reyes:                        Thank you Josh. It’s always been great working with you all. You all are like our little starving kids. You all have the first exercise there that a tribal nation has had and as far as summation. Also I’m glad that you’re able to make contact with Willa and was it Doss Spalding you spoke with?

Josh Garcia:                          It was a gentleman named Steve. I forget his last name. He’s involved with grants and another law enforcement person that was with him. But we’ve gotten contact information so we’re going to stay plugged in.

Norma Reyes:                        I’m glad because I know that was something you’ve been wanting to do. So good luck continuing with, you know, good luck with your networking in that area and thank you so much for your input. Operator?

Telephone Operator:            We’ll go next to Jerry Evans.

Jerry Evans:                          Jerry Evans Kaw Nation. Norma, also I’d just like to say thank you to everyone that has worked hard and diligently to get this going after it’s been approved by the president and there’s still some challenges but I was just kind of thinking maybe if we could still have some type of a face to face consultation in different areas. If I know finances are tight also but it seemed like at the item C - when you had the presentation there - we were very receptive on that and got a lot of input. Has that been thought maybe in the future to have different areas and locations to have face to face consultations on this before everything gets compiled together?

Norma Reyes:                        We’ve been invited to the IDC meeting next week in Miama, Oklahoma. Are you aware of that Jerry?

Jerry Evans:                          Yes ma’am, I am.

Norma Reyes:                        Okay, so that would be - at that time we’ll be there.

Jerry Evans:                          Okay, good. Again, just thank you for everything and the hard work and I appreciate it. I appreciate everything that FEMA and what Region 6 is doing. Thanks again.

Norma Reyes:                        Thank you. Operator?

Telephone Operator:            We’ll go next to Ralph Johnson.

Ralph Johnson:                      Yes, I know, I know - shut up Ralph already. Ralph Johnson again with Isleta Pueblo, Chief of Fire States and Operations. I was sitting here listening to some of the other comments and I forgot to ask is EMPG not tied to the Stafford Act or no? Is it a completely different - and the reason I ask is because the 50 states get EMPG funding and we were lucky enough to get to the advanced level finally and out of paying a small portion of the EMPG grant. And we’re, you know, we appreciate what the state has done for us. I mean we’re working very well together with them but maybe if you were able to carve out some of that EMPG funding and make that available to tribes only with stipulations of course. I mean, you know, they’ve got to be at least at an intermediate level. But if we can start finding some way to finance emergency management programs in tribes - if we’re going to start treating them with states then we need to go all the way. And we provide the EMPG funding to the 50 states but yet we’re expected to come up with all these plans that the states have. Well they do that in large part with EMPG dollars that they get from the feds. I mean that’s how they’re able to have these, you know, department of emergency managements and what have you which is a good thing. But I think we need to afford that as well to the tribes.

            So if we want tribes to be able to develop these plans and start hiring emergency managers that are truly emergency managers - not some poor guy that has to wear five or six different hats or gal. We need to start treating them correctly and I think by offering EMPG funding to them would be a fantastic way to start showing that not only do we believe in this government to government. We’ve changed the Stafford Act and we’re going to start providing you funding if you start doing these certain things that you’re supposed to do. And then put the criteria on them. That’s not a problem but you’ll have a lot of drives then that will be able to afford some type of emergency management plan. That’s just a thought; food for thought.

Norma Reyes:                        Thank you very much.

Ralph Johnson:                      Thank you.

Norma Reyes:                        Operator, any other comments?

Telephone Operator:            We’ll go next to Josh Garcia.

Steve Cordova:                      Yes, this is Steve Cordova. Of course I have to get my two cents in also. But all I wanted to mention was previously mentioned by Ralph and Josh was that we are part of the AIPC organization which is an all Indian Pueblo council and almost all of the Pueblos are in New Mexico except for us. We’re in Texas of course. And but we are a member and we can be reached through that council also. So we are active with them and we will pass on information to them because it’s our obligation being part of that council. But yes, that is one organization that we are members of.

Norma Reyes:                        There are I think two organizations of Pueblos and I have that information and I’ve already had information in terms of where their meetings are and how to go about the process of getting an audience before them. So maybe down the line at some point when we have to, we will definitely reach out that way as well.

Steve Cordova:                      Definitely, yes. Thank you very much Norma.

Norma Reyes:                        Thank you. Any other comments operator?

Telephone Operator:            At this time the queue is empty.

Norma Reyes:                        Thank you very much. I would like to conclude this FEMA Tribal Consultation Engagement Conference Call and turn it over to Regional Administrator Tony Robinson for the final remarks.

Tony Robinson:                      I’d just like to thank you all for participating in today’s Region 6 Consultation Call. I think the dialogue has been tremendous. You guys brought up some excellent points and I don’t know if this list is all encompassing. I’ve got about three pages of notes here. But certainly we need to continue the dialogue I think to help us understand the trust and fee simple lands - your comments on the declaration criteria, the per capita, identification, the need for technical assistance for owning plans and your Mitigation plans. And then the comment about setting up training in EMI and EMPG - once again excellent thoughts and I appreciate that candid discussion. We will need that continued dialogue as we continue on with the pilot program and again in the rulemaking process. So I want to thank you all for your comments today. A transcript of this call will be posted on www.fema.gov/tribal-consultation in the next few days and if you need information on that, please reach out to Norma to get that. The consultation site will also include important background information on declarations and disaster assistance processes. Once again, I want to thank you for your time and we look forward to building upon our relationship with you - tribal leaders, emergency managers - as we continue to move forward in this legislation. So thank you very much. Norma, I’ll turn it back to you.

Norma Reyes:                        The deadline to provide your input on the implementation of tribal declaration is April 22nd. So do not forget to submit your written comments. In emails I previously sent, you will find four additional venues which you can submit written comments. Please contact me at 940-898-5233 or email me at norma.reyes@fema.dhs.gov if you’d like me to provide you this information again. Thank you again for your participation. You all have a good day.

Telephone Operator:            This does conclude today’s conference call. Thank you for your participation. You may now disconnect your lines.

END

 

Last Updated: 
04/10/2013 - 12:00
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