Vermont Gov. Phil Scott on July 13 made a formal request to President Joseph R. Biden for federal disaster funds to assist individuals and communities in recovering from floods that occurred from July 7-12. The Major Disaster Declaration would provide relief to individuals and communities.
“Vermonters have faced incredible loss as a result of this historic and catastrophic flooding event,” Scott said. “While we’re still focused primarily on the immediate response, as we transition to the recovery phase, federal assistance will be critical to support families, businesses and infrastructure. With support from Washington, and the inspiring resiliency of Vermonters, we will be able to rebuild and recover.”
The Fuel Line, the newsletter of the Vermont Fuel Dealers Association, reported July 14 that the Governor had signed an Emergency Declaration that speeds recovery and rebuilding. “It waives hours of service requirements for Commercial Vehicle Operators who are supporting the emergency relief effort with goods, materials, equipment and fuel,” Fuel Line reported. “It also provides professional service licensing flexibility, allowing residential contractors who are certified in another state to work in Vermont during the declaration. It does not address heating techs, although we expect the Department of Public Safety to issue a similar exemption soon.”
The Fuel Line also advised fuel dealers:
“If your home or business has been impacted by the flooding there may be resources available in the near future. In the meantime, what is important is to document any damage with photos and to write down your experience. Be sure to capture all losses, including the loss of business income, inventory, equipment, and property.”
Fuel dealers who have been affected by the flooding should contact their insurance companies “to file a claim or understand what losses may be covered.” The Fuel Line also noted that, “In some cases, homeowners whose fuel tanks have been dislodged may qualify for assistance from the Vermont Petroleum Cleanup Fund (PCF). For residential properties, the PCF will pay for up to $50,000 to clean up a spill, after a $250 deductible.”
Later on July 13, the governor signed an addendum to his Emergency Declaration, which directs state agencies and departments to provide specific and temporary regulatory relief to expedite the state’s response.
Under authority provided by the state of emergency, the temporary regulatory relief is for: timely access to gravel and rock fill, asphalt and concrete for road and infrastructure repair; facilitating commercial motor vehicle operations needed to support emergency relief efforts transporting supplies, goods, materials, equipment, and fuel into Vermont; facilitating transportation of materials and equipment; and professional service licensing flexibility.
“This historic rainfall and flooding have caused catastrophic damage to infrastructure across the state, and destroyed homes and businesses,” Scott said. “Securing and rebuilding roads and critical infrastructure needs to happen quickly to keep Vermonters safe. To move as quickly as this response requires, we need to pause certain requirements and waive specific restrictions that can delay this important work.”
The request for federal disaster funds comes under the federal Public Assistance (PA) and Individual Assistance (IA) programs. A Public Assistance disaster declaration, if approved, would allow communities in declared counties to receive at least 75% reimbursement for storm response and recovery, including repairs to public infrastructure.
The Individual Assistance program would help individuals impacted by the disaster seek reimbursement for necessary expenses and serious needs that cannot be met through insurance or other forms of assistance. Eligible expenses include rental assistance, home repair, home replacement, and lodging, among other expenses.
The governor’s request was sent to FEMA. FEMA will send a recommendation to President Biden, who has ultimate authority to approve or reject the request.