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DeFazio Applauds FEMA Approval of Public Assistance Funding for Wildfire Recovery

Oct 21, 2020
Press Release

Rep. Peter DeFazio (OR-04) today applauded the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for approving Oregon’s request for Public Assistance funding to repair public infrastructure damaged earlier this year by wildfires.

Last week, DeFazio led the Oregon delegation in a letter to FEMA Administrator Peter Gaynor urging support for Governor Kate Brown’s request for Public Assistance Categories C through G, which would fund repairs for roads and bridges, water control facilities, public buildings and equipment, utilities, and parks and recreation areas.

In that letter, the lawmakers wrote, “These fires indiscriminately torched everything in their path leaving scenes of carnage and destruction in their wake. Public infrastructure was no exception. School buildings, city halls, roads and bridges, and public utilities have all been badly damaged…Oregon’s Office of Emergency Management predicts that this disaster has caused more than $1 billion in damage. The State of Oregon and local governments simply do not have adequate resources to finance the needed repair and replacement work. FEMA’s assistance for public infrastructure will help these projects move forward quickly and allow an easier and faster return to normalcy for fire-damaged communities.”

FEMA has previously approved Oregon’s request for Public Assistance Categories A and B, which funded temporary relief measures. Funding for Categories C through G would go towards longer-term repairs for public infrastructure damaged by the wildfires. Under current law, the federal government will pay 75% of the repair costs. In September, however, the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, which DeFazio chairs, approved legislation DeFazio drafted to increase the federal share for disaster recovery in 2020 to 90%.