WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski (both D-Md.) were joined by members of Maryland’s Congressional Delegation today in sending a letter to President Barack Obama supporting Governor Hogan’s request for a declaration of a major disaster for Baltimore following recent unrest in the city. If awarded, Maryland will become eligible for federal disaster recovery dollars through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), ensuring the state’s already strained budget is not stretched any thinner. The letter was signed by Senators Cardin and Mikulski, as well as U.S. Representatives Steny H. Hoyer, Elijah E. Cummings, Chris Van Hollen, C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, John P. Sarbanes, Donna F. Edwards and John Delaney (all D-Md.).
“Following the tragic death of Freddie Gray, citizens of Baltimore reacted with outrage in their demands for truth and their demands for justice,” the Members wrote. “For seven days, from April 25, 2015 through May 1, 2015, the City of Baltimore experienced civil unrest… Maryland and its local jurisdictions have contributed a vast amount of resources, which will continue to have economic impacts around our state. A Major Disaster declaration is necessary to help provide the resources needed by all.”
The full text of the delegation’s letter of support is as follows and can be downloaded here:
May 26, 2015
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear Mr. President:
We are writing to express our strong support for Governor Hogan’s May 21, 2015 request for a Major Disaster declaration for the City of Baltimore. Given the massive impact that the situation in Baltimore is having on the state’s resources, we respectfully request that you urgently approve Federal assistance.
Following the tragic death of Freddie Gray, citizens of Baltimore reacted with outrage in their demands for truth and their demands for justice. For seven days, from April 25, 2015 through May 1, 2015, the City of Baltimore experienced civil unrest. The boiling emotions of a small fraction of Baltimoreans turned into violence and vandalism to homes and businesses that the vast majority of Baltimore’s citizens have been working to rebuild and restore.
Governor Hogan took appropriate action under State law and directed the execution of the State Response Operations Plan in accordance with Section 401 of the Stafford Act. In addition, the Governor issued an Executive Order declaring that a State of Emergency existed and activated the Maryland National Guard to State service. The Governor has certified that additional Federal assistance is needed. The Governor has provided the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) with a preliminary damage assessment of over $19 million in expenditures for local jurisdiction law enforcement, security, firefighting, and emergency management costs as well as out-of-state resources required to supplement local and state resources. This Major Disaster declaration is necessary to address emergency protective measures and public buildings and contents per Category B & E of Public Assistance under the Stafford Act. This situation has the potential to negatively impact services in other areas, given an already strained state budget environment.
Maryland and its local jurisdictions have contributed a vast amount of resources, which will continue to have economic impacts around our state. A Major Disaster declaration is necessary to help provide the resources needed by all. We appreciate your consideration of Maryland’s request, and look forward to continue working with you in this recovery.
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