Texas Gov. Rick Perry's request denied
May 4th, 2011
05:52 PM ET
12 years ago

Texas Gov. Rick Perry's request denied

(CNN)– Gov. Rick Perry continued his tirade against President Obama late Tuesday, when the administration's decision to deny his request for a disaster declaration for the state of Texas was finalized.

Perry requested a declaration from the president in mid-April to clear the way for federal funding and assist in state efforts to fight wildfires that have burned over 2.2 million acres of land.

"I am dismayed that this administration has denied Texans the much needed assistance they deserve," Perry said, in a statement. "It is not only the obligation of the federal government, but its responsibility under law to help its citizens in times of emergency."

And for Perry, the issue may not be settled.

"We will immediately look at all of our options, including appealing the denial, so Texans can receive the resources and support they need as wildfires continue to threaten life and property across our state," he continued.

The Republican governor, who's made no secret of his displeasure with President Obama in the past, went on to list actions that state government has taken to aid residents in distress including deploying Texas Forest Service personnel to assist with multiple fires, Texas Military Forces to help with fire suppression, and the Texas Intrastate Fire Mutual Aid System.

Perry sought additional federal assistance through a Major Disaster Declaration which must be approved by the president.

But, while the request was being reviewed, the state wasn't exactly left in the lurch.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) approved 25 fire management assistance grants in April, specifically designed to support firefighting efforts. They cover 75 percent of the state's emergency response work for each fire, according to FEMA spokeswoman Rachel Racusen who objected to Perry's claims of neglect in a statement Wednesday.

"This administration, through FEMA, has been working closely with the state throughout the duration of these fires, and we are supporting the firefighting efforts," she said.

"Based on the information the state provided to FEMA through this process, it was determined that there was not a need for additional support at this time as the federal assistance is already being provided to Texas for response activities in the form of the Fire Management Assistance Grants."

By federal law, requests for disaster declarations are reviewed based on whether needs of the state are beyond what state and local governments can handle. But Perry insists a disaster declaration is imperative to his state's ability to battle wildfires. And according to FEMA, it is not.

With Perry's threat to appeal, the fight could be prolonged. But Racusen promised, "We will continue to work closely with the state and local emergency management officials as their efforts to contain these fires continue."

Filed under: President Obama • Rick Perry • Texas
soundoff (80 Responses)
  1. ArmyVet66

    Now he wants to be part of the USA! You can't have it both ways Gov Perry! You are already getting Federal assistance plus we have to cut spending...right?

    May 4, 2011 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  2. Ken, AZ

    If you secede from the Union you can form your own federal government, then declare the country of Texas a disaster area. That way you can bail yourself out. Or, you can cut taxes, since that increases revenue. But, no you can't do that because you don't have an income tax and you're opposed to government spending and that might lead to BIG government. Oh well, you'll

    May 4, 2011 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  3. Chris

    Conservatives gripe about federal handouts unless it is something they want.

    May 4, 2011 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  4. The Real Tom Paine

    Beyond their means? Could it because the good Governor has slashed spending to the very agencies he now needs to combat the fires, in order to give the needy millionaires in TX another few dollars for their overpriced mansions? Now he comes to the very Federal government he has accused of being intrusive, and screams they won't help when he fails to meet their criteria? Too bad, Ricky, burn. Next time, don't ask hard-working people in Blue states to make up for your budget shortfalls and lousy planning. You wanted to secede: now you know the cost. Deal with it.

    May 4, 2011 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  5. Joan

    Didn't Perry turn down federal assistance during the recession? Didn't he say he didn't want any kind of interference from the federal government? Hasn't he rejected ties to the federal government for some time? Didn't he threaten some kind of withdrawal from the union at one time? He has gotten assistance through FEMA and other grants. He has gotten as much as many other states such as California get during fires and others during floods. He wants his cake and eat it too. He speaks through both sides of his mouth.

    May 4, 2011 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
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