WEST (CBSDFW.COM) – Nearly two months after the fertilizer plant exploded in West killing 15 people, the small city received another big blow this week: A letter from FEMA denying again Governor Rick Perry’s request for a major disaster declaration there.
At the State Capitol Thursday, Governor Perry told reporters, “We haven’t made a decision on whether we’re going to ask them to reconsider that or not.”
The Governor said his office most likely will appeal FEMA’s decision because he was at the memorial when President Obama promised he wouldn’t abandon West.
The President told mourners the city is not alone and wouldn’t be forgotten.
A major disaster declaration by FEMA would help rebuild city streets, water and sewer lines, and schools destroyed by the blast.
Governor Perry said, “Maybe FEMA wasn’t paying attention or maybe FEMA didn’t get the message from the President that he has told these people that he’s going to do everything that he can.”
The controversy came up Thursday at the White House’s daily press briefing.
A reporter asked if the President is comfortable with FEMA’s decision.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney responded, “First of all, I haven’t spoken with the President about it. I would refer you to FEMA for specific questions about assistance.”
Carney and FEMA say the agency has already provided 775 residents $7 million in emergency assistance, and that more help to individuals will be provided.
After expressing outrage Wednesday, West Mayor Tommy Muska says he’s feeling more confident about the situation. “I feel better today. The President said he was going to be with us and not forget about us, and I take him as a man of his word. He has the ability to call up and say look, do you think this is the right thing to do?”
Governor Perry says he too believes the President will live up to his word to help West.
If not, Mayor Muska says he’s reviewing his options to get the job done.
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