Gov't shutdown could impact Sandy efforts

FEMA: Impasse in Washington may affect some storm recovery projects


According to Federal Emergency Management Agency officials, the partial shutdown of the federal government could impact some of the agency’s Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts, though previously approved funding will be available and ongoing long-term recovery work will continue.

After the House and Senate failed to agree on legislation to fund the government, FEMA spokesman Dan Watson said that the review and approval of local recovery projects and spending plans may be delayed until the resumption of normal government activities.

FEMA responses to emergencies and disasters are financed by the Disaster Relief Fund, which is not initially affected by a funding lapse for annual appropriations, Watson explained. Assistance to survivors of existing or newly declared disasters will also continue for the time being.

According to FEMA, the shutdown could potentially delay the reimbursement process for the City of Long Beach, which is looking to recoup most, if not all, of the $200 million in damage from the storm — the agency has said that it will cover 90 percent of the storm costs — as well as funding for a number of Sandy reconstruction projects through public assistance grants from FEMA.

“Obviously we’re concerned, but it doesn’t stop us from doing what we have to do to move forward,” City Council President Scott Mandel said, adding that the city remains in contact with FEMA. “It’s unfortunate that the shutdown is taking place. I don’t think it’s going to have an impact on us, but it depends on how long government is shut down and how pervasive the shutdown is. Right now it’s only a partial shutdown. But we’re working with our contacts at the federal level to make sure that Long Beach is not forgotten and that our needs are met. I don’t think anyone, even outside of Long Beach, is fully aware of the magnitude and the length of the shutdown.”

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