U.S. SENATE — After requests from U.S. Senator Steve Daines and U.S. Representative Greg Gianforte, President Donald J. Trump today approved a Major Disaster Declaration for Montana counties impacted by this year’s severe flooding. The announcement comes after Daines and Gianforte sent a letter to Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Brock Lock urging the agency to reconsider the denial of impacted counties in Montana.
“This is great news, and I’m thankful the President responded to our request,” Daines said. “This year’s flooding devastated communities and infrastructure across our state. This declaration will help expedite cleanup and recovery efforts and will help restore the way of life for some of Montana’s most impacted communities.”
“Today is a great day for these Montana counties, and I am grateful for President Trump’s response to our request,” Gianforte said. “This year’s flooding devastated our communities, and today’s decision will help these counties have resources they need to rebuild and recover from severe flooding.”
“On behalf of Missoula county, we were excited to hear this major disaster declaration has been authorized. This will have a positive impact on our ability to mitigate flooding and help our community recover. We want to thank the delegation that have helped shepherd through this process,” Missoula County Office of Emergency Management Director Adriane Beck said.
The declaration will provide expedited federal funding to assist in cleanup and recovery efforts in Carbon, Custer, Golden Valley, Lewis and Clark, Missoula, Musselshell, Park, Powell, and Treasure Counties. The funding will be used for repair or replacement of facilities damaged by the 2018 flooding.
As a result of heavy flooding earlier this year, the State of Montana requested a major disaster declaration on June 18, 2018.
The original request was for “Public Assistance,” which repairs and replaces disaster-damaged facilities, to be available for Blaine, Carbon, Golden Valley, Hill, Liberty, Missoula, Musselshell, Petroleum, Pondera, Powell, Toole, and Valley Counties. The request also asked for “Hazard Mitigation Assistance,” which supports efforts for actions taken to prevent or reduce long-term risk to life and property from future flooding, would be available statewide.
Daines and Gianforte fought to ensure all affected counties received Public Assistance and statewide Hazard Mitigation Assistance.
On September 6, 2018, Daines and Gianforte sent a letter to FEMA Administrator Brock Long demanding the remaining counties be granted Public Assistance.
On August 30, 2018, Daines and Gianforte announced six of the 12 counties received Public Assistance from FEMA including: Blaine, Hill, Liberty, Pondera, Toole and Valley. They also announced Hazard Mitigation Assistance was granted statewide.
On August 22, 2018, Daines discussed the impacts of flooding with FEMA Deputy Administrator nominee Peter Gaynor at a Senate Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee hearing.
On August 14, 2018, Daines and Gianforte sent a letter to FEMA Administrator Brock Long to urge the approval of Montana’s Major Disaster Declaration request.
In May 2018, Daines pressed Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen on the need to assist communities in Montana impacted by severe flooding. In July, Daines’ bill to extend the National Flood Insurance Program was signed into law.