Finally…Obama Declares Texas Wildfires A Disaster
Finally! More than 1.2 million burned acres later the President has finally recognized that a major disaster exists in the State of Texas and has ordered Federal aid to supplement State and local recovery efforts in the area struck by wildfires during the period of April 6 to May 3, 2011.
Of course, this is only a partial approval which applies only to fires fought during a designated four week period.
Chron reported –
Stop the presses!
After months of wildfires that have scorched more than 1.2 million acres of the Lone Star State, President Obama today declared the state a “major disaster” area.
Gov. Rick Perry, the state’s Republican senators and GOP legislators in Austin and Washington have been hammering Obama since April, saying that the president was ignoring a crisis in Texas while responding to other disasters in Alabama, Missouri and elsewhere. Federal Emergency Management Agency personnel said the state did not qualify for “major disaster” status because fires are treated differently than other natural disasters. White House officials flatly denied any bias against Texas, as was alleged by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Dallas, and Perry.
The Texas governor repeatedly filed requests for a presidential disaster declaration, even after Obama’s serial refusal to approve his requests. The White House announcement this afternoon came on the day Perry underwent minor back surgery.
The federal disaster declaration covered 45 counties, primarily in West Texas. The White House announcement said the new aid is designed “to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the area struck by wildfires during the period of April 6 to May 3, 2011.”
Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Sen. John Cornyn and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison all released late-Friday statements supporting the president’s declaration. Perry, in his statement, was quick to point out that he thought the federal support, while good for Texas, was late.
“This partial approval only applies to fires fought between April 6 and May 3, 2011, covering just a fraction of the fires fought in Texas so far this season,” the statement read. “On April 15, Gov. Perry sent a letter to President Obama requesting a Major Disaster Declaration for the State of Texas…the governor’s request was denied on May 3. Gov. Perry appealed the president’s decision on May 26.”
In his joint statement with Sen. Hutchison, Sen. Cornyn struck a tone similar to the governor’s.
“I am glad the President finally answered the repeated calls of officials in Texas,” Cornyn said in the statement. “I’m disappointed that he took so long to issue this declaration for the first responders, farmers, ranchers and landowners in Texas who suffered through the loss of hundreds of structures and thousands of wildfires.”
It’s an Obama world.
Better late than never. Better some than none.