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July 11, 2012
Press Release

More than $4million in federal funds will help communities pay for debris removal

(WASHINGTON) Congressman Richard E. Neal today announced that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has awarded two communities in western Massachusetts more than $4million in federal assistance to pay for debris removal that was caused by the severe snowstorms on October 29, 2011. The Town of Agawam will receive approximately $3,133,033, and the Town of Sturbridge $1,160,517, in Public Assistance grants that will cover 75% of clean up and recovery costs associated with the storms. Immediately following the Nor'easter, Neal urged President Obama to issue a disaster declaration which makes federal assistance available to cities and towns.

Through the Public Assistance Program (PA), FEMA provides supplemental federal disaster grant assistance for debris removal, emergency protective measures, and the repair, replacement, or restoration of disaster damaged, publicly owned facilities. The PA Program also encourages protection of these damaged facilities from future events by providing assistance for hazard mitigation measures during the recovery process.

"Having seen the devastation from the snowstorm firsthand, I know how important this federal assistance is to local communities who are still struggling to pay for cleanup costs. Literally thousands of trees across western Massachusetts had to be cut down, removed and disposed of. When you include overtime costs, the recovery process becomes very expensive for towns like Agawam and Sturbridge. That is why I am pleased that this important reimbursement assistance has been approved," said Congressman Richard E. Neal.

FEMA obligates funding for this project directly to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. It is the Commonwealth's responsibility to ensure the eligible sub-grantee receives the the award. Following the state's review process and upon receipt of appropriate documentation, they will provide funds to the communities on a reimbursable basis.

FEMA's mission is to provide assistance to local and state governments, and certain types of private nonprofit organizations, so that communities can quickly respond to and recover from major disasters or emergencies declared by the President.