Texas Gov. Rick Perry laments lack of federal aid for wildfires
April 29th, 2011
04:08 PM ET
9 years ago

Texas Gov. Rick Perry laments lack of federal aid for wildfires

(CNN)- Republican Gov. Rick Perry accused President Obama of neglecting Texas Thursday when he slammed the administration for failing to declare a disaster in the wildfire-damaged state.

"You see hundreds of thousands of acres of Texas burning and you know that there will soon be emergency declarations, and we did that now a couple of weeks ago, but still no response from this administration," he told local news radio station WOAI in an interview.

Perry requested a federal declaration for emergency in Texas on April 16 after destruction from wildfires reached 252 counties in the state. An emergency declaration from the president would clear the path for federal aid to Texas.

Obama approved GOP Gov. Robert Bentley's request for emergency federal assistance in Alabama on Wednesday, the same day it was requested, after a wave of tornados ripped through the state. According to FEMA, emergency declarations are made when "an incident is of such severity and magnitude that effective response is beyond state and local capabilities and that federal assistance is necessary."

Obama visited Tuscaloosa, Alabama Friday, touring damaged regions of the city. He pledged the federal government would "do everything we can to help these communities rebuild."
"I've never seen devastation like this," the president said.

But Perry aired his frustration over what he perceives as a lack of needed attention to Texas, venting, "They watch TV, they know what's going on here, they can recognize that there is going to be a request for assistance, a request for help."

Perry protested what he views as a lack of response from President Obama 13 days after his request for emergency funds, though federal agencies such as the National Park Service have supplied firefighters to support the state.

"There is a point in time where you say, hey, what's going on here. You have to ask why are you taking care of Alabama and other states? I know our letter didn't get lost in the mail."

But an administration official with knowledge of federal assistance provided to Texas tells CNN the state has been already been allocated 16 fire management assistance grants that provide financial support for the specific purpose of fighting fires. Texas has been approved to receive six more grants of this kind to aid state and local governments with firefighting efforts that include equipment, field camps, mobilizing and demobilizing activities. The most recent fire management grant was approved Wednesday.

Perry has also charged Obama with punishing Texas for his open opposition to administration-led reform on health care and the environment, a charge which the president has denied.

Rachel Racusen, a FEMA spokesperson said, "Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and communities continuing to be affected by the wildfires in Texas. Governor Perry's request is currently under review, and we will continue our close coordination with the state as they work to protect their residents and communities."

White House spokesman Nick Shapiro contested Perry's claims of neglect, saying, "The administration has greatly been assisting Texas with the fight against the wildfires."

Filed under: President Obama • Rick Perry • Texas
soundoff (86 Responses)
  1. Owen

    Punishing Texas? Get real, gov!

    April 29, 2011 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  2. Proud member of "Global Zero"

    According to the FEMA Dirctor this "Is not meant to be a factual statement". It seems you have asked for and recieved 16 grants for Federal Aid to fight wild fires. As a TexasEX...stop lying you are embarrassing the state.

    April 29, 2011 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  3. Tre Jankie

    Everyone who posted here is awesome. I love you all! *group hug*


    April 29, 2011 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  4. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    Mostly, and as former Texan, I like Rick Perry, but he's being a bit hypocritical.

    April 29, 2011 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  5. The Real Tom Paine

    This is beyond belief....Mr. Secessionist now complaining of Federal neglect. Funny how all these natural disasters are hitting more red states....God's plan, maybe?

    April 29, 2011 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  6. Marko

    Hey! You want to be on your own, welll now you know what it is like. You asked for it and you got it. So what is your complaint? So typical.

    April 29, 2011 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  7. keylargo

    Ok, Texans, you elected this whiner, twice!! aren't you proud?

    April 29, 2011 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  8. Shari from Madison WI

    Another Republican liar. Look at all the disasters we have had this month. Obama cannot be in 3 to 4 places at once. This governor is another rich boy who feels he is entitled to being worshiped. What a sad deluded man he really is.

    April 29, 2011 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  9. Adam

    Why doesn't the article mention his previous CRIES against Federal spending in his state???

    April 29, 2011 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  10. Randy, San Francisco

    This is justice...Gov Perry asking for a handout. What happened to the GOP/Tea Party mantra about self reliance and the evils of government handouts? Maybe Texas should fund fire fighting by raising taxes on the rich and ending special tax breaks on cash rich corporations.

    April 29, 2011 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  11. thomas

    Isn't this the closet queen governor who wanted his state to succeed from the union ?
    The Great State of Texas can do better without this political inept machine as Governor !
    Obama isn't punishing Texas , Republican Gov. Rick Perry is responsible for barebonesing emergency services and wildfire prevention. How many wild fires went out of control in the last five years in Texas ?

    April 29, 2011 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  12. Mickey C

    Your state spews more carbon dioxide than the next 4 largest states COMBINED and now you're asking for help because of a prolonged pattern of "climate change". Use the dollars you saved with the cheapest electricity (coal) and gasoline prices in the country. Your state doesn't care about the environment and the environment doesn't care about your state.

    April 29, 2011 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  13. Anonymous

    I will guarantee you that Teaxas did not follow the proper procedure for help. Plus why did he wait until a couple weeks ago to request this help? POLITICS BEING PLAYED BY THIS GOVERNOR!

    April 29, 2011 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  14. Jake

    Gov. Perry, are you implying that Alabama is less deserving than Texas? i'm sure the state you govern is at fault for not controlling the fires properly (and I'm sure you haven't allocated the proper funds yourself for it). A tornado is a devastation that happens in mere moments, with little warning! Shame on you!

    April 29, 2011 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  15. Dennis 2547

    I just have to laugh because this GOP governor like all the rest whom have belittled this President like no other sitting President in recent memory. They blast the government for spending too much on programs for the elderly. Too much money going to all those assistance programs, like – gosh good golly – do you think federal assistance for Dept of Interior programs? I think fire fighting equipment falls into the national parks and open spaces within all 50 States. NOW we have a guy making a huge fuss because he thinks there has been no federal assistance to his State with wildfires burning for the last 2 weeks. WRONG. He is just grand standing, you have to keep your mug on the front pages of all the news media outlets or you'll lose favor, ie Trump and the worst of all Miss Palin or is it MRS. Palin? What's the difference. His state has been receiving aid he just forgot. It is all too familiar short coming of GOP folks across the Nation.
    A retired US Army veteran from Nor Cal.

    April 29, 2011 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  16. Joe

    This is awesome. Every single comment so far is calling Perry out for his hypocrisy.

    April 29, 2011 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  17. kayla

    so now you want government aide. animal farm

    April 29, 2011 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  18. Mr. Moderate

    So he is comparing fires on the Texas prairie which as far as I know have killed no one and cause only minor property damage with a tornado outbreak that killed hundreds and wiped entire towns off the map? Want some cheese for that whine gov???

    April 29, 2011 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  19. Lolo

    Get Palin, Fox News, McCain, Beck, Limbaugh and the rest of your racist hypocrit friends to help you out. Remember be careful of what you wish and say out of your mouth, for it may come true.

    April 29, 2011 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  20. Ricky

    and this surprises people? C'mon he was one of King George Bush's good ol' boys, what do you expect of him? I live in San Antonio Texas, am a die hard Republican, but would NEVER in a million years support this butt nugget arse clown, nor did I support King George Bush the second time around. People here in San Antonio are finally getting the picture that this arse clown is pathetic and needs to go, a little too late, but nonetheless...

    April 29, 2011 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  21. A Real Patriot

    Give Texas back to the Mexicans!

    April 29, 2011 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  22. Annie, Atlanta

    He doesn't get to have it both ways, does he? First he wants to shrink government, and then tells everyone when he does how wonderful it's working out in Texas. Then he wants to secede from the union. Now he wants government funds. Raise taxes on all those oil tycoons instead, Perry, you hypocrite.

    April 29, 2011 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  23. BradGa

    Is this one of the governors who joined or talked about joining the group that would reject federal bailout/stimulus/healthcare money? Maybe I'm wrong (and I have the guts to admit when I am), but he sounds like another Republican hypocrite.

    April 29, 2011 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  24. ThinkAgain

    "...federal agencies such as the National Park Service have supplied firefighters to support the state ..."

    Perry is a whiner! One minute he's saying to heck with the US, Texas will be its own country; the next he's complaining that he hasn't gotten enough help from the feds, even though federal agencies have been helping.

    Go cry on someone else's pillow, Perry – and stop being such a schmuck!

    April 29, 2011 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  25. Bloom

    Playing politics is the all Obama does. Wildfires have ravaged our state. It burned about a third of our ranch in West Texas and we are fine and do not need assistance but there are plenty of others that do. Most larger farms and ranches have been donating hay and feed. Obama is a loser in our state and will remain being one and we don't need any federal clowns here. Send it any available $$ to Claudia in Houston – she seems to want to live on the dole.

    April 29, 2011 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
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