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White House denies TX as "major disaster area"; local leaders frustrated

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POSTED: Wednesday, May 4, 2011 - 6:32pm

UPDATED: Sunday, May 8, 2011 - 2:52am

This year, almost 7,000 separate wildfires have destroyed more than two million acres in Texas, burning hundreds of homes, businesses, and farms.

Conditions are still dry. In fact, 210 of Texas' 254 counties are under a burn ban.

Back in March, Texas Governor Rick Perry requested a statewide disaster declaration from FEMA that would give the state financial aid to combat the fires..

When tornadoes ripped through Alabama in April,  White House officials immediately declared it a disaster area.  Meanwhile in Texas,  fires the size of Rhode Island were burning, and FEMA still had not responded to Perry's request.

"I think this administration needs to be responsive to the people of the state of Texas.  It seems to me they were very responsive and appropriately so to the citizens of Alabama," says Governor Perry.

U.S. Senators John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison from Texas wrote a letter to FEMA asking them to expedite the request and got no response. 

Tuesday, they wrote a letter to President Obama urging for assistance, and they finally got an answer. Senator Cornyn says, "I'm very disappointed that the Obama Administration...yesterday... after dragging their feet for weeks informed Governor Perry that his request had been denied."

Senator Cornyn says there was no explanation.  "I'm frankly baffled," he says.

FEMA says Texas has received 25 fire assistance grants in the last two months.  "I think we've had 9,000 separate fires in the state of Texas, and the federal government has only helped us with 25 of them. I think that's inappropriate," says Gov. Perry.

Now, some state leaders say it's hard not to speculate.  Sen. Cornyn says, "Texas has not been a place that's received, to my view, equal and fair-handed treatment with other places in the country.  There seems to be a lot of politics in the calculation."

Texas has 30 days to appeal the denial.  Governor Perry says the state is considering its options.

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FEMA spokeswoman Rachel Racusen on Wednesday said federal assistance already has been provided to Texas through grants for response activities. If those who lost their million dollar lake front mansions and damage to the millionaire owned ranches were uninsured or under insured that is their problem and they should not receive tax dollars. If they were insured & the ins. co. will not pay their claims the Gov. should take their assets to cover their losses after all the Repubs deregulated the ins

I am offended by the title of this article. President Obama is the one who issues federal declarations for disasters. FEMA does not. Once communities are overwhelmed they request assistance from the governor and if he sees that resources are overwhelmed the governor then requests a federal declaration from the President.

Then there was this story recently. . . .http://www.addictinginfo.org/2011/04/30/rick-perry-i-don%E2%80%99t-want-federal-funds-until-i-need-federal-funds/. You can't have it "your way", Governor Perry.

If Superman can give-up his citizenship then, Governor Perry can take Texas out of the land of fools.

I wish KETK would actually do some fair reporting instead of just repeating whatever Rick Perry has to say. If you actually looked up the statistics, you would see that very few disaster declaration have been for wildfires (30 out of 1,974 total disaster declarations since 1953) and only California and Alaska have recieved more than one. A federal disaster declaration is issued only when the emergency overwhelms the capabilities of the state. Obama's not making this political, Perry is.

Is Obama going to allow Texans to suffer because of a personal feud between himself and Perry? How childish. These people suffered the same as flood and tornado victims, give them the financial support they deserve.

You can't compare wildfires to floods and tornadoes. The death totals and property damage don't compare and to do is an insult to the 300+ people that just lost their lives in one night. Most of the damage during these fires has been to ranch and grazing areas of insured ranchers. We have regretably lost many, many acres of state and national forests. I lived in New Orleans during Katrina and this disaster doesn't hold a candle to the devastation I saw there. FEMA is right on this one.

like I said Obama has given Texas 4 grants that cover 75% of the cost of fighting these fires, what more could you Republicans want ....rebuild those mansions.

LETS NOT FORGET ALL THE TIMES THAT YOU t-pUBLICANS HAVE BAD MOUTHED GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES TOO, WANTING TO TAKE THEIR BENEFITS AND PENSIONS AWAY AND LOWER THEIR SALARIES. WELL IDIOTS, FIREFIGHTERS ARE GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES AND IF I WERE THEM I WOULD SAY, LET TEXAS BURN, THEY DO NOT WANT TO PAY ME FOR RISKING MY LIFE FOR THEM, LET EM BURN.

So you T-Publicans are asking for welfare payments for those that were uninsured or underinsured.....right, ....handouts? WOW Those affected were mostly millionaire Ranchers and millionaire lake front property owners. Should have been insured.

Tax dollars should not be used to help those who lost their homes or property and had no insurance or who were under insured. If they were insured and the insurance companies do not want to pay the claims of those affected then Perry and the Republican Texas Government should reach into the pockets of the insurance industry that they deregulated and take their funds to assist those who are being denied. Tax dollars should be to replace what firefighters used and FEMA has given Tx 4 grants for th

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