Tracking the Tropics
Scott appeals feds denial of Florida disaster aid
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- Florida Gov. Rick Scott wants the federal government to reconsider a decision to turn down a request for millions in disaster aid for the state.
The administration of President Barack Obama notified Florida on the eve of the president's latest visit that it was rejecting a request for nearly $27 million in help for seven counties impacted by Hurricane Isaac.
Isaac was still a tropical storm when it threatened Florida in late August and shortened the Republican National Convention in Tampa from four to three days. But it veered west, strengthened and made landfall in Louisiana. Still it caused flooding in many parts of the state, especially Palm Beach County.
A regional spokeswoman for the Federal Emergency Management Agency said the storm did not produce enough damage to justify federal aid.
"Based on the information provided by the state, it was determined that the damages from this event were not of such severity and magnitude to be beyond the capabilities of the state, affected local governments and voluntary agencies," Mary Hudak said in a statement.
Scott has already appealed the denial of the federal disaster declaration. He sent a letter to FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate on Thursday. Fugate was Florida's emergency management chief before taking the FEMA job.
The appeal expands Florida's request from seven coastal counties to 10 counties, including Broward and Martin. It also increases estimated damage, mostly from flooding, to public property from $26.8 million to $36.7 million.
Florida is seeking aid only for damage to public facilities -- not for individuals. Some of the counties that Scott wants aid for include Palm Beach, Bay, Escambia, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa and Collier.
The decision by FEMA to turn down help to Florida quickly turned political.
Republican Party of Florida Chairman Lenny Curry on Thursday criticized the federal government.
"While the president seems to enjoy campaigning in Florida, he doesn't seem interested in the realities its citizens face," Curry said in a statement.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)