October 30, 2020

Following Cassidy’s Letter and Conversation with Trump, President Approves 100% Federal Cost Share for Hurricane Laura Debris Removal

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) today announced that President Trump has approved his request for a 100 percent federal cost share for debris removal and emergency protective measures, including direct federal assistance, in the aftermath of Hurricane Laura.

“Hurricane Laura inflicted widespread devastation upon Louisiana from Cameron Parish to Ouachita Parish,” said Dr. Cassidy. “The combined effects of the coronavirus pandemic and Hurricanes Laura and Delta have exhausted many communities’ ability to recover on their own. President Trump assured me when Hurricane Laura was threatening the Louisiana coast of whatever was possible to help Louisiana recover. Granting 100 percent federal cost share for debris removal is one more fulfillment of that promise. I thank President Trump and the people of Louisiana for their resiliency and for keeping hope.”

President Trump amended the disaster declaration for Louisiana after Senator Cassidy personally called him to ask for the federal government to completely cover the costs of the damage inflicted by Hurricane Laura.

In addition to his conversation with the President, Senator Cassidy wrote a letter in September asking the President and FEMA to waive the local cost-share percentage of 25 percent, and cover 100 percent of the costs associated with the damage from Hurricane Laura.

The 100 percent federal cost share will last for a continuous period of 30 days established by the State of Louisiana.

Hurricane Laura made landfall as a Category 4 storm with sustained winds of 150 miles per hour, becoming the first hurricane in living memory to maintain hurricane status as it traveled through Louisiana’s northern parishes. It was also the strongest hurricane to make landfall in Louisiana in more than 150 years.

The catastrophic damage has over-extended the capacity of most parishes, cities and towns to respond to the economic devastation caused by the impact of this hurricane. Before the amendment was made, local communities were required to cover 25 percent of the cost share, which would have crippled the ability of many local economies to respond and recover from a disaster of this magnitude.

Thousands of residents are still displaced by the storm. Private homes, businesses and public facilities suffered catastrophic damage, and the recovery process is expected to last months.

The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development and its contractors alone removed more than 1,389,019 cubic yards of debris. The debris trail blocked roads and destroyed buildings from southwest Louisiana and into central and northern parts of the state.

With the increase in federal cost share, the people of Louisiana will be able to get back on their feet even quicker.