Senator Blackburn Supports Governor Lee's Disaster Declaration Request

March 23, 2019

Washington, D.C. - Today, Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) made the following statement in support of Governor Bill Lee's request to declare a major disaster under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief Act as a result of the flooding and severe storms that have impacted Tennessee since early February.

"Tennesseans are grateful for the ongoing efforts of state and federal authorities in response to the damage caused by the flooding and severe storms in our state. A declaration of a major disaster under federal law is the next step to ensure a swift and orderly process for getting federal disaster assistance to Tennesseans in need. The Trump Administration should approve Governor Lee's request without delay." 

Senator Blackburn and members of Tennessee's Congressional Delegation sent a letter to President Trump today urging approval of Governor Lee's request.

The full text of the letter is below:

Dear Mr. President:

On behalf of the State of Tennessee, we are writing to support Governor Bill Lee’s request to declare a major disaster pursuant to the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief Act as a result of the flooding and severe storms that impacted our state beginning on February 6, 2019.

Governor Bill Lee has submitted a request for Public Assistance for Anderson, Bedford, Bledsoe, Blount, Campbell, Carter, Cheatham, Claiborne, Clay, Cocke, Coffee, Decatur, Dekalb, Dickson, Dyer, Fentress, Gibson, Giles, Grainger, Greene, Hamblen, Hamilton, Hancock, Hardin, Hawkins, Hickman, Houston, Humphreys, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, Knox, Lake, Lauderdale, Lewis, Lincoln, Marion, Marshall, McNairy, Moore, Morgan, Obion, Overton, Perry, Rhea, Roane, Robertson, Scott, Sequatchie, Sevier, Smith, Tipton, Unicoi, Union, Van Buren, Warren, Wayne, and Weakley Counties to respond to the severe flooding and overwhelming storms that tore through Tennessee. The State has also requested Individual Assistance for Decatur, Hardin, Humphreys, Perry, and Sevier Counties. We strongly urge you to approve Governor Lee’s request, and we hope you will consider our State’s request as soon as possible.

We thank you for your Administration’s ongoing response, specifically the March 15, 2019, announcement that $10 million is immediately available to help repair roads damaged by flood and landslides. However, the severe storms that swept across the State of Tennessee beginning on February 6th brought severe storms and flooding that cost the state over $151 million. In response to the floods and severe storms, the State of Tennessee provided over 4,000 meals, distributed almost 300 cases of water, monitored fifty-eight rock slides or falls, and was forced to close down 75 locations on state highways. Federal Emergency Management Agency and State joint Preliminary Damage Assessments in affected counties for both Public and Individual Assistance occurred between March 12, 2019, and March 21, 2019. 

The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency has been working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency since the beginning of this incident, and we are grateful for their efforts to respond to Tennessee’s needs. Our offices can provide you with any additional information should you have any questions.