Congressional delegation backs Tomblin for aide after spill - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Congressional delegation backs Tomblin for aide after chemical spill

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West Virginia's Congressional delegation in Washington, D.C., is asking the president for support in financial aide after the chemical spill on Jan. 9.

U.S. Senators Joe Manchin and Jay Rockefeller, both D-W.Va., along with Reps. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., Shelley Moore Capito and David McKinley, both R-W.Va., wrote a letter March 25 to President Barack Obama and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator W. Craig Fugate to express their full support for Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's request to declare a major disaster for the state of West Virginia as a result of the spill of crude MCHM into the Elk River.

The congressional delegation wrote, in part: "We respectfully ask that Governor Tomblin's request for a major disaster declaration be granted so that we can continue to recover from this event of national and international significance. Thank you in advance for your prompt attention to this important matter."

Read the congressional delegation's full letter below:

The Honorable Barack Obama

President of the United States

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue

Washington, DC 20500

Copy To: Administrator W. Craig Fugate 

Federal Emergency Management Agency

U.S. Department of Homeland Security

500 C Street, S.W.

Washington, D.C. 20472

Dear Mr. President:

We write in full support of Governor Earl Ray Tomblin's request that you declare a major disaster for the State of West Virginia as a result of the devastating contamination of our State's water supply by a chemical spill that began on January 9, 2014.

As Governor Tomblin stated in his letter to you last week, the costs incurred by our wonderful citizens, our compassionate volunteer organizations, and our hardworking state and local agencies have been extraordinary. We appreciate your immediate action on January 10 in declaring an emergency disaster following this event and activating FEMA to help our State in direct response to this tragedy.

The chemical spill also greatly impacted our economy, our school systems, our hospitals, and many of our businesses across the affected region. While estimates of the impact to our economy have been calculated at $61 million, we expect the likely total economic impact to be far greater. School systems lost a significant amount of instructional days. Hospitals were forced to reschedule visits by their patients. Our businesses saw substantial revenue loss, while incurring vast costs to clean their facilities and recover from this crisis. 

We respectfully ask that Governor Tomblin's request for a major disaster declaration be granted so that we can continue to recover from this event of national and international significance. Thank you in advance for your prompt attention to this important matter.

Sincerely,

John D. Rockefeller IV, Joe Manchin III, Nick J. Rahall II, Shelley Moore Capito, David B. McKinley