By GUY KOVNER
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
North Coast Reps. Mike Thompson and Lynn Woolsey joined 26 other House members and Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer in supporting California’s appeal of a decision that denied federal disaster aid to counties hit hard by an extended March storm.
The bipartisan letter, signed by six Republican and 22 Democratic House members, supported Gov. Jerry Brown’s appeal. It seeks to overturn a Federal Emergency Management Agency decision that denied federal assistance to 17 counties, including Mendocino, Humboldt and Del Norte counties on the North Coast.
The storm, which brought heavy rain, snow, high winds and flooding from March 15 to 27, did more than $51 million in damage, causing “significant financial strain” to the state and the impacted counties, said the letter addressed to President Barack Obama and FEMA.
Representatives who visited storm-damaged areas said it was “clear that a major disaster declaration is critical to helping our state recover from this devastating storm system,” said the letter, which was issued Monday.
The declaration is warranted, it said, because the two-week series of storms was caused by a “single low pressure storm system” that shifted back and forth across the state.
If the declaration were granted, FEMA would pay for at least 75 percent of the repairs to storm-damaged public facilities, or up to 75 percent of the cost of measures to prevent future losses, or both.
The other counties seeking federal assistance are Alameda, Amador, Butte, Contra Costa, Madera, Mariposa, Monterey, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz, Sierra, Stanislaus, Sutter, Trinity and Tuolumne.