FEMA Denies West Rebuilding Funds

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To say that the town of West has had a rough time is pretty much the understatement of the year. Since a fertilizer plant exploded, killing 15 people and leaving half the town looking like it had been wiped out by a nuclear bomb, the people of West have been struggling to rebuild and move on from the tragedy. There has been help from the federal government, but now it turns out that the Federal Emergency Management Agency is denying funds to help rebuild the town, according to the Associated Press.

FEMA has already provided a ton of money -- millions -- to aid the town, but the decision means the residents of West won't be getting the funding that would help them repair their infrastructure, such as the roads, the electric lines, the sewer lines and, you know, that school that got blown up.

Gov. Rick Perry issued a statement on the FEMA decision on Wednesday, and it's stating the obvious to say he made it pretty clear he's understandably not happy with the decision.

"The day of the West memorial service, President Obama stood in front of a grieving community and told them they would not be forgotten," Perry stated. "He said his administration would stand with them, ready to help. We anticipate the president will hold true to his word and help us work with FEMA to ensure much-needed assistance reaches the community of West."

What makes this worse is that the federal government -- despite all those millions -- overlooked the situation at the West fertilizer plant for years.

In the wake of the explosion, it was found that investigators from the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration hadn't inspected the plant since 1985. The facility got a citation from the Environmental Protection Agency for $2,300 in 2006, and was generally overlooked by most regulatory agencies, which are understaffed and responsible for covering a huge swathe of the U.S. chemical industry.

Then, when everyone convened to actually investigate the explosion, the Chemical Safety Board, a non-regulatory agency charged specifically with investigating and determining the cause of these kinds of incidents, was kept out of the site while state and federal investigators pretty much demolished it, according to the folks over at CSB themselves and AP.

FEMA did approve more than $7 million in aid and low-interest loans, and the agency is covering 75 percent of the cost of removing the debris from the blast, but there won't be the level of aid that communities get after FEMA has declared a "major disaster" in an area. So now West won't be getting the federal funding to help residents rebuild.

The AP points out it's not unusual for the agency to deny that type of aid for this kind of disaster, but that's likely not much comfort to the people of West, who are the ones actually trying to sift through the wreckage and rebuild their lives in the midst of this particular disaster.

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38 comments
Juan_Leg
Juan_Leg

We have Houston based oil companies DESTROYING the water in Northern Colorado and we aren't hearing any sobbing for OUR CONTINUING LOSSES !!!

johncoby
johncoby

West Texas doesn't need no stinkin help from the Feds! They don't need a handout! Rick Perry says they have long Texas sized boot straps and will pick themselves up without crying to the Federal government for help.


So, on the count of three....PULL!

Sarah Sexton
Sarah Sexton

They're going to have to sell a lot of m&m's door to door.

H Newcomb
H Newcomb

I read what the mayor of West said, and it's rather sad. He seems to be anxious to avoid calling on the fertilizer company to take responsibility (and it is the company that should bear it). My guess would be he doesn't want to annoy the largest employer in town or they might not rebuild the plant there. FEMA is making the right call, because there is a responsible (or should be responsible) party, and this isn't the kind of situation it exists to deal with. FEMA is for large scale, usually natural disasters. Something no resident of Houston or the rest of the Gulf Coast should forget, especially between June 1 and Nov. 30th....

Patrick Gruße
Patrick Gruße

Yes, Dylan. Apparently, State agencies had information about an approximate amount of Ammonium Nitrate. Why they felt the need to keep it under wraps is beyond me.

Aaron Kovach
Aaron Kovach

Hey Michell Michon.... The EPA didn't even know this plant existed until it exploded obviously the EPA is worthless... YOU MORON!!

Aaron Kovach
Aaron Kovach

Patrick you can't block the federal government out of regulating chemical plants ask anyone that has worked in one... The corporation doesn't have enough insurance to cover the damages...

Inmyeye Org
Inmyeye Org

Adam your a moron!! Are you going to threaten me as well!!

Mario Garcia
Mario Garcia

It wasn't a natural disaster.....it 's a corperate

Dee Gravink
Dee Gravink

Nor should they. This was not a natural disaster.

Patrick Gruße
Patrick Gruße

Actually, Aaron, if I remember correctly, the plant was storing an illegal (unreported) amount of ammonium nitrate (270 tons) that caused the explosion. We, the people of Texas, have essentially blocked the Federal gov't from being involved "our" regulatory affairs, now we're asking for assistance? You can't have it both ways. The good ol' boys who were hiding over 1000x the limit of dangerous chemicals (right next to a school, mind you) are responsible, they should fix it.

Jo Claire Hall
Jo Claire Hall

See--how's that "shrinking big government" and doing away with regulations working out, GOP? Don't like it very much, huh?

Greta Kirkland
Greta Kirkland

The company is responsible. FEMA gave emergency aid to the families in the area, which is what they are supposed to do.

Kyle Jack
Kyle Jack

They should have done a better job of inspecting, but the company is the one who is actually responsible and should pay every dime of restitution.

Joshua Justice
Joshua Justice

Say it again Aaron... No one heard your sad rant the first 3 times.

Aaron Kovach
Aaron Kovach

FEMA responded to was the dumping of toxic waste into Love Canal in Niagara Falls, New York, in the late 1970s. FEMA also responded to the Three Mile Island nuclear accident where the nuclear generating station suffered a partial core meltdown.

Michelle Michon
Michelle Michon

Hey Aaron Kovach.... The Republicans (INCLUDING PERRY) want to deregulate and disband the EPA.... YOU MORON!!!!

Aaron Kovach
Aaron Kovach

But its the feds fault! OSHA and EPA are federal departments that are responsible for regulating chemical companies! Moron!!

Aaron Kovach
Aaron Kovach

OSHA and EPA are federal departments that are responsible for regulating chemical companies! Moron!!

Joshua Justice
Joshua Justice

Deny funds for other states.... Get yours denied. Its Cruz Flores and Perry's fault.

Adam Roberts
Adam Roberts

Funny how Texas Republicans cry and beg for federal dollars for a disaster that could have been avoided yet they try to deny victims of superstorm sandy any federal dollars. Texas republicans are the worst hypocrites.

BMaldonado
BMaldonado

Governor Perry, hater of all things Federal, now wants the feds to ride to the rescue for a corporation that was negligent and blew up a town. Makes perfect sense.

Scott Bland
Scott Bland

Um... this isn't completely true. FEMA already has provided millions of dollars in aid to the town of West and its residents. The decision likely means less money to pay for public repairs to roads, sewer lines, pipes and a school that was destroyed. President Barack Obama traveled to the area to attend a memorial service for the first responders and others who died trying to help... which was what the President should do. As of Wednesday, FEMA said the agency and the U.S. Small Business Administration had approved more than $7 million in aid and low-interest loans to West residents impacted by the blast. FEMA also is paying 75 percent of the costs of debris removal and will reimburse the state and the municipality for the initial emergency response. Some funds would be available in West through insurance pay outs and because it believes the state or the municipality has the resources to cover the costs, among other things, agency spokesman Dan Watson said in a statement." Rick Perry IS an idiot and I do believe he's threatened to succeed from the United States. But now he's bitching because FEMA, a United States government agency, won't pay for his state's ignorance. I say ignorance in respect to ignoring safety inspections which should have been done on a plant this size.

Michelle Obsheatz
Michelle Obsheatz

Isn't there insurance for this type of accident? Perry wants federal government money for this but won't accept money from the federal government for Medicaid expansion? Makes no sense.

LaDona R. Davis
LaDona R. Davis

I agree. Not a natural disaster other than the fact that because of Perry and his cronies, no inspections were made in over 15 years. Bad policies by bad politicians in Austin.

Kyle Jack
Kyle Jack

If a company blows up a town through incompetence, the company should make the town whole, not the government.

Michelle Michon
Michelle Michon

Rick Perry and his Texas REPUBLICAN's BAD policy. Let them TAX the corporations for the funds.

Karen Aguirre
Karen Aguirre

It's not a natural disaster, therefore FEMA should not cover it.

johncoby
johncoby

@H Newcomb Good point. That is not FEMA's responsibility. It is almost funny (but it is not) that many in Texas whine about the Federal Govt being a "nanny" state then whine to the Federal Govt for funding when a private company was negligent. But, as i said, West claims to have Texas sized boot straps. Now they need them.


johncoby
johncoby

@Scott Bland Facts, smacks. You can prove anything with facts! --Homer Simpson.

Here in Texas facts don't mean dittly.

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