West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin announced Feb. 12 he will appeal FEMA's decision to deny West Virginia's requests for reimbursement funds.
According to a release from Tomblin's office, FEMA Deputy Associate Administrator Elizabeth A. Zimmerman responded to his request in a letter stating, "Based on our review of all of the information available, it has been determined that the event was not of such severity and magnitude as to warrant grant assistance."
Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., said in a statement that he is also working to appeal FEMA's decision. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said he supports Tomblin's decision to appeal and also urged FEMA to reconsider its decision. Secretary of State Natalie E. Tennant also released a statement supporting Gov. Tomblin's decision to appeal and also urged FEMA to reconsider their decision.
President Obama declared a state of emergency on Jan. 10, allowing FEMA to give disaster relief and assistance to local responders. That declaration did not provide for funding that would reimburse local and state governments for funds spent on emergency response and supplies.
On Jan. 27, Gov. Tomblin requested a modification of the state of emergency declaration that would allow for reimbursement for first responders, state and local governments and non-profit agencies.
An official with FEMA released a statement in response to Gov. Tomblin's announcement. It states:
"On January 27, 2014, the State of West Virginia requested a modification to the emergency declaration for assistance with other expenses. FEMA considers a number of factors in assessing each request for assistance, including if response and recovery efforts are beyond the capabilities of the state. While the initial emergency declaration was approved and resources were provided to support the immediate response, it was determined that in this case certain costs associated with the response and recovery efforts were not beyond the response and recovery capabilities of state and local governments to necessitate additional federal assistance beyond the emergency declaration already provided."