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Members of upstate New York’s congressional delegation are urging the White House to release aid to individuals affected by the Halloween storms that caused widespread flooding and wind damage.

Gilbert M. Gaul has twice won the Pulitzer Prize and has been shortlisted for the Pulitzer four other times. For more than thirty-five years, he worked as an investigative journalist for The Washington Post, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and other newspapers. He has reported on non-profit organizations, the business of college sports, homeland security, the black market for prescription drugs, and problems in the Medicare program.

In his new book "The Geography of Risk: Epic Storms, Rising Seas, and the Cost of America's Coasts," Gaul considers this: Five of the most expensive hurricanes in history have made landfall since 2005: Katrina ($160 billion), Ike ($40 billion), Sandy ($72 billion), Harvey ($125 billion), and Maria ($90 billion). With more property than ever in harm’s way, and the planet and oceans warming dangerously, it won’t be long before we see a $250 billion hurricane.

Why?

Because Americans have built $3 trillion worth of property in some of the riskiest places on earth: barrier islands and coastal floodplains. And they have been encouraged to do so by what Gaul reveals to be a confounding array of federal subsidies, tax breaks, low-interest loans, grants, and government flood insurance that shift the risk of life at the beach from private investors to public taxpayers, radically distorting common notions of risk.

A still from a listener-submitted video of an ice jam on the Mohawk River, shot from Schenectady's Stockade neighborhood. File photo.
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The City of Schenectady will host a series of community workshops on addressing flooding in the city’s historic Stockade neighborhood.

Wikipedia

The City of Schenectady is gathering input as it envisions a future for its oldest neighborhood.

VermontElectric.coop

The Vermont Electric Co-Operative is getting a federal grant to help repair 54 transformers and nearly 2,900 miles of transmission and line poles damaged by a severe storm and flooding last October.

President Donald Trump has approved a disaster declaration for five Vermont counties that were damaged during severe storms in early May.

Courtesy of Central Hudson

New York’s two U.S. Senators and a congressman are urging the Federal Emergency Management Agency to stand ready to approve any request from the state for disaster declarations for Hudson Valley counties. The counties were impacted from severe storms and tornadoes in mid-May.

By Roosevelt Skerrit - https://www.flickr.com/photos/rooseveltskerrit/albums/72157686922251424, CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=62690583

Hudson Valley Democratic Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney’s amendment requiring an audit of a FEMA contract awarded to supply tarps to Puerto Rico, has advanced.

An image of Hurricane Camille in 1969
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With the recovery from Hurricane Harvey underway, there is growing concern about Hurricane Irma, a major storm that could hit Florida later this week.  It was just over 48 years ago that another deadly and destructive storm slammed into the southern U.S.  

exterior of a former U.S. Army reserve center that is to become a Springfield Police Dept Annex.
WAMC

A $30 million settlement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) following the June 1, 2011 tornado in Springfield, Massachusetts is paying for three construction projects.

A former National Guard armory building is being converted for use by the police department. A brand new senior center is being built. And, a brand new neighborhood center is being constructed to replace one destroyed by the storm six years ago. 

Each of the buildings, when finished, will benefit people throughout the city. 

WAMC

It has been nearly five years since a powerful tornado tore through western Massachusetts and the city of Springfield is still settling up financially with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The city announced a $13.8 million grant from FEMA Monday as compensation for the destruction of a neighborhood community center during the tornado on June 1, 2011.  The federal agency had initially rejected the city’s $18 million damage claim, but after several appeals – and nudges from Congressman Richard Neal – a settlement was reached.

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The federal Small Business Administration is still processing low-interest loans for Superstorm Sandy.

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More than $7 million in federally funded grants is being awarded to a host of Connecticut cities and towns affected by Superstorm Sandy in 2012.

Zach Malloy

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is announcing legislation to require the Federal Emergency Management Agency to be more accountable to property owners who file claims.

  Natural disasters don't matter for the reasons we think they do. They generally don't kill a huge number of people. Most years more people kill themselves than are killed by Nature's tantrums. And using standard measures like Gross Domestic Product (GDP) it is difficult to show that disasters significantly interrupt the economy.

It's what happens after the disasters that really matters-when the media has lost interest and the last volunteer has handed out a final blanket, and people are left to repair their lives. What happens is a stark expression of how unjustly unequal our world has become. The elite make out well-whether they belong to an open market capitalist democracy or a closed authoritarian socialist state.

In The Disaster Profiteers, John Mutter argues that when no one is looking, disasters become a means by which the elite prosper at the expense of the poor.

  After seven years of service as the president of Tulane University, Scott Cowen watched the devastation of his beloved New Orleans at the hands of Hurricane Katrina.

When federal, state, and city officials couldn't find their way to decisive action, Cowen, known for his gutsy leadership, quickly partnered with a coalition of civic, business, and nonprofit leaders looking to work around the old institutions to revitalize and transform New Orleans.

Senator Charles Schumer
WAMC Photo

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer is urging the Federal Emergency Management Agency to be ready to approve financial assistance for the wildfire in Sullivan and Ulster Counties that has been burning since Sunday.

At the urging of members of New York’s congressional delegation, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has agreed to expedite a Schoharie County project.

WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

It has been over 40 months since tropical storm Irene flooded the Schoharie County Public Safety Building and the jail; both are still in need of repair. Upstate New York Congressman Chris Gibson led a gathering of state and local leaders Tuesday in Schoharie County, with the intent to spark FEMA to make a decision. 

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Lawmakers from New York say federal funding is headed to rebuild a village hall in Rockland County that was severely damaged by Hurricane Sandy.

New York’s U.S. Senators and a Hudson Valley congresswoman are urging FEMA to expedite more funding to upgrade a hospital’s power system.

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A New York congressman is urging the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help fend off layoffs of a dozen firefighters in a Hudson Valley city.

Democratic Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney has written to FEMA asking for expedited approval of a grant application from the Newburgh Fire Department. The money would come from the Firefighters Grant Program known as SAFER, or the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response program. Maloney says that without approval of the grant, the fire department will have to lay off 12 firefighters at the end of the year.

FEMA Grant Heads To Westchester For Sandy Costs

Jan 21, 2015

Westchester County is being reimbursed for some of the cost of removing debris from Hurricane Sandy.

Westchester County will receive a more than $1.1 million Federal Emergency Management Agency for reimbursement Westchester County taxpayers for the removal of debris caused by Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Congresswoman Nita Lowey, the ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, says the reimbursement is for removing downed trees, uprooted tree stumps, and other debris from public property in and along roads, parks, and rights-of-way throughout the county.

Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin is asking the Federal Emergency Management Agency for an extension to the deadline to seek a federal disaster declaration for last month's snow storm that caused more than 130,000 power outages.

Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant
Courtesy NRC and Entergy Corp.

The Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant is going to be testing its emergency sirens in three states.

Bob P. B./Flickr

Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin is seeking a federal disaster declaration for assistance with repairs to roads and other public infrastructure that were damaged during last month's storm in Windsor and Windham counties.

FEMA Money Will Strengthen 20 NY Bridges

Aug 23, 2014
Wikimedia Commons, Daniel Case

Governor Andrew Cuomo Friday announced federal funding headed New York’s way to strengthen 20 bridges.

The state of Vermont is asking the Federal Emergency Management Agency to include three more counties when considering a request for disaster assistance from spring flooding.

The Vermont town of Bennington has filed an appeal over the federal government's rejection of reimbursement funds for the town's work on a flood wall after Tropical Storm Irene.

Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin and the head of Federal Emergency Management Agency operations in the state say they've never seen such a series of flash flooding events as have hit the state in recent weeks.

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