Press Releases

Washington, D.C. Today, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) expressed his concern to Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Acting Administrator Peter Gaynor on the high rate of denials of applications for private property debris removal assistance. Citing potential wildfire threats, and the unsafe and unsanitary living conditions for Hurricane Michael survivors, Rubio urged FEMA to “swiftly reconsider, and approve, applications for private property debris removal.”
 
A timeline of Rubio’s efforts related to Hurricane Michael can be found here.
 
The full text of the letter is below.
 
Dear Acting Administrator Gaynor:
 
As you know, recovery efforts following Hurricane Michael have been extremely difficult for Northwest Floridians, and the federal government must work with local communities in response to the unprecedented devastation. One area that continues to affect the health and safety of residents in the Panhandle is private property debris removal. While I am grateful for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) agreeing to extend the program for 60 days, I write to express concern with regard to the high rate of denials of applications for assistance. Communities continue to struggle with the large amount of debris from private property, and local officials indicate that this poses a significant health and safety threat to the public-at-large. Thus, I request for FEMA to work with localities to swiftly reconsider, and approve, applications for private property debris removal.
 
With the debris posing an increased threat for wildfires, it is critical that FEMA takes into account the extraordinary circumstances our communities face, and work with local officials to protect the public health and safety of residents. The longer we wait for debris to be removed, the greater that threat increases for unsafe and unsanitary conditions for remaining survivors. Thus, I respectfully request you work with state and local communities to consider and approve these applications in a timely manner.
 
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
 
Sincerely,