Senator Max Baucus convinced the Federal Emergency Disaster Agency (FEMA) today to reverse an earlier decision and include the Huntley Project Irrigation District in its Preliminary Damage Assessments of recent flooding in Yellowstone County.  Today’s decision to include Huntley in the preliminary assessment will improve the likelihood that Huntley could be awarded federal assistance in the event the state’s request for a Major Presidential Disaster Designation is approved.

 “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: we’re all in this together and I’m here to do my part,” Baucus said.  “In the case of Huntley, my office was able to find more information to convince  FEMA to push Huntley one step closer to receiving federal support.  The next step is to get Montana’s request for federal disaster assistance approved so folks can start seeing the help they need on the ground, and I’m pushing to make that happen.  I urge all Montanans who need help recovering to please call my office.  We can’t fix everything overnight, but we’ll sure do all we can to help.”

 “It’s great that we’ve now been approved by the preliminary damage assessment. Now we’ll be able to work with FEMA to work for final approval on this project which is critical to the community, BNSF, and the water users of the Huntley Project Irrigation district. This is an important step forward for us as we work to make sure that our crops get irrigated and we don’t face this situation again next year,” said Huntley Irrigation District board member Dan Vogel.

 Upon learning that FEMA originally denied the Huntley project’s inclusion last week,  Baucus’ office carefully reviewed the decision and informed FEMA that the Huntley Project Irrigation District did in fact qualify under the Montana State Code as an entity eligible for federal disaster relief.  At Baucus’ urging FEMA revised its preliminary assessment to include Huntley, following confirmation from the State. 

 The Irrigation District will still need to wait until a major disaster is formally declared and apply in order to receive assistance.  But inclusion in the damage assessment will help expedite the process.  Baucus is pushing FEMA for swift approval of the designation request and will continue working with Huntley to help the community receive the assistance it needs.

Story from Baucus’ office