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Senators From Texas Question Federal Response to Wildfires

FEMA has defended its decision refusing to provide more assistance to Texas after devastating wildfires. FEMA spokeswoman Rachel Racusen says federal assistance already has been provided to Texas through grants for response activities.


Senator John Cornyn says he’s disappointed.

“I think it demonstrates a complete lack of awareness and appreciation for how these fires have affected the lives and property of so many people in our state. Senator Hutchison and I sent another letter asking for additional consideration, but we didn’t get much response — mainly just a flat-out denial communicated to Governor Perry’s office, which to me is unacceptable.”

Governor Rick Perry criticized the White House for rejecting his April 16th request for a federal major disaster declaration and additional help. FEMA says, based on information provided by the state, there was not a need for additional support at this time. Senator Cornyn is waiting for a better explanation.

“When you’re given no explantion, as the Obama administration has done, then people begin to speculate ‘what is the reason?’ Is it because there’s not really a disaster? Well, we know clearly there is. And so that’s why I’m frankly baffled as to what the administration’s thought processes are.”

Texas wildfires since November have blackened at least 2.2 million acres. More than 200 Texas counties have outdoor burn bans.

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