State and local governments should own the disaster recovery process by creating integrated, outcome-based mitigation plans like Puerto Rico post-Hurricane Maria, the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s administrator said Thursday at a congressional hearing on Capitol Hill.
To that end, Brock Long asked the House Appropriations Committee for additional authority in FEMA’s third supplemental request for $44 billion to go beyond simply rebuilding communities to pre-disaster standards, per the Stafford Act, and address resiliency.
Too often FEMA finds itself in the role of first responder and even the only responder, Long said, as was the case in Puerto Rico, which faces massive amounts of deferred maintenance on antiquated infrastructure and its energy grid in particular. The average age of power plants in the U.S. commonwealth is 44 years, compared to the national average of 18.
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