Louisiana Delegation Supports Request For Federal Emergency Declaration
WASHINGTON— Today, U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy, Sen. David Vitter, Rep. Ralph Abraham, Rep. Charles Boustany, Rep. John Fleming, Rep. Garret Graves and Rep. Steve Scalise sent a letter to President Obama in support of Governor Jindal’s request for a federal emergency declaration for the State of Louisiana after unprecedented rainfall and flooding.
“As of today, reports from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) indicate that river stations reaching from Vicksburg, Mississippi to New Orleans, Louisiana are expected to exceed flood stage,” wrote the Members. “An effective federal response and assistance is necessary to ensure the safety of our citizens, mitigate property damage and lessen the threat of a disaster.”
Ongoing rainfall has caused flooding along the Red, Atchafalaya and Mississippi Rivers, threatening homes and businesses in Louisiana. This dangerous rise in water levels is similar to Louisiana’s flooding events in 2011, which received a Presidential Emergency Declaration.
In today’s letter, the Members request federal resources to protect Louisiana citizens from the flooding and implement preventative measures. The State of Missouri, who has also been affected by the Mississippi River flooding, was approved for an emergency declaration on December 22, 2015.
Read the below:
The Honorable Barack Obama
President of the United States
The White House
Washington, DC 20500
Dear President Obama,
We are writing to express our support for Governor Jindal's request for a federal emergency declaration for the State of Louisiana effective December 28, 2015. The State of Missouri has been approved for an emergency declaration effective December 22, 2015, in part because of flooding in the Mississippi River Basin which began to impact Louisiana on January 2, 2016. This request comes as a result of the ongoing and imminent record flooding along the Red, Atchafalaya and Mississippi Rivers.
Over the last 30 days, several states have experienced an unprecedented amount of rainfall, which threatens to raise water levels for the Atchafalaya, Red and Mississippi River to dangerous levels. There is justifiable concern that these increased water levels could lead to flooding which would result in significant damages and disruptions for families, homes, and businesses across Louisiana.
As of today, reports from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) indicate that river stations reaching from Vicksburg, Mississippi to New Orleans, Louisiana are expected to exceed flood stage. The flooding that we are currently experiencing is very similar to the levels experienced in 2011, which Louisiana received a Presidential Emergency Declaration. The USACE opened the Bonnet Cane on January 10, 2016 in order to help lower the levels of the Mississippi River.
During the 2011 emergency, the surrounding areas experienced significant damage, and similar damage is expected due to the current flood incident. The opening of the spillway threatens to displace thousands of Louisianans in towns in the lower St. Martin, St. Landry, St. Mary and Assumption Parishes. Parish officials in Assumption, Avoyelles, Concordia, East Carrol, Iberia, Iberville, Lafourche, Madison, Plaquemines, Point Coupee, St. John the Bapist, St. Landry, St. Martin, St. Mary, Tensas, Terrebone, West Baton Rouge and West Feliciana, which border the Mississippi River, have made emergency declarations and begun taking measures to protect their communities. Other parishes are also considering to do the same.
It is expected that the emergency response capacity will exceed the capability of state resources. As a result, we request that vital federal resources be pre-positioned and released to assist state and local government to appropriately monitor risks, preserve property and implement preventive measures for residents, including potential sheltering operations. An effective federal response and assistance is necessary to ensure the safety of our citizens, mitigate property damage and lessen the threat of a disaster.
We look forward to working with you to help the residents of the threatened areas in their time of need, and eagerly await your response.