SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today asked President Bush to declare 26 Illinois counties federal disaster areas, an action that could help the state, local governments, municipally-owned utilities and electric power cooperatives in areas hard-hit by the Nov. 30-Dec. 1, 2006, ice storm recover 75 percent of their extraordinary storm-recovery costs. The state estimates that recovery costs to these entities will total more than $19.5 million.
“Nearly two months later, we’re still dealing with the effects of the ice storm that knocked out power for up to a week in many areas,” Gov. Blagojevich said. “In fact, in less than a year, communities across our state have dealt with tornadoes, thunderstorms, flooding and record snowfalls. We deployed our state resources to help out these communities, but they also need federal assistance. I’m hoping the federal government takes all of this into account as they review our request.”
The 26 counties listed in the Governor’s request for federal assistance include Bond, Calhoun, Champaign, Christian, Clinton, DeWitt, Fayette, Ford, Greene, Jersey, Livingston, Logan, Macon, Macoupin, Madison, McLean, Monroe, Montgomery, Morgan, Piatt, Sangamon, Scott, Shelby, St. Clair, Tazewell and Woodford.
The Governor also issued a state disaster declaration for Clinton, Fayette and Ford counties for damage to the electrical power distribution systems owned by co-ops in those areas suffered from the ice storm. These three counties were not included in the state disaster declaration Gov. Blagojevich issued on Dec. 5, 2006, because information about these costs was not available at that time.
On Dec, 7, 2006, the Governor asked President Bush for assistance to help 26 counties that experienced a record or near-record snowfall during the Nov. 30-Dec. 1 storm. That request was granted on Dec. 29, 2006, and staff from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) have been working with officials from more than 500 local governments in those areas since early January to help them complete applications for reimbursement.
Also in the Dec. 7 letter, Gov. Blagojevich requested federal assistance for 23 counties that had experienced heavy ice accumulations from the storm to help them with the costs of debris removal and emergency protective measures. As the recovery effort progressed and the state gathered more information about the storm’s impact on municipally-owned utilities and electric co-ops, the Governor asked FEMA to delay action on that request so that more detailed expense information from these utilities and local governments could be collected. During the past two weeks, teams from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) met with local officials to assess their storm related costs. Those assessments indicate that the ice storm caused more than $19.5 million in damages.
In his request today for federal assistance, the Governor detailed assistance the state provided to communities following the ice storm, including:
- Nearly 350 troops from the Illinois National Guard were sent to both the East St. Louis and Decatur areas to do home safety checks for citizens without power.
- The American Red Cross established numerous shelters and assisted in the creation of warming centers in areas that were without power for extended periods.
- The State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) was staffed for more than a week to coordinate response to requests from counties and municipalities.
- The Illinois Department of Transportation and Illinois Department of Corrections have had personnel and equipment on the ground nearly every week since the storm struck to help nearly 50 communities with debris removal.