Washington, D.C. (July 1, 2021) – Eastern Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05) today ensured the town of Malden and other rural communities impacted by wildfires have access to resources needed to mitigate the potential for a secondary disaster.
“Far too often, rural communities are left struggling to scrap resources together following a natural disaster. This leaves communities like Malden that have been impacted by a wildfire vulnerable to a secondary disaster,” said Rodgers. “As the people of Malden continue to rebuild, the last thing they should be worrying about is having to face a severe flood or mudslide as a result of a burn scar. While I have major concerns about many parts of this overall bill, I’m glad my provision to make wildfire-impacted communities eligible for pre-disaster mitigation grant funding was included and passed today.”
Rodgers was joined by Representatives Dan Newhouse (WA-04) and Kim Schrier (WA-08) in offering this amendment to the INVEST in America Act that would expand access to pre-disaster mitigation grants.
“Time and again, we’ve had to deal with the devastating impacts of wildfires in our Central Washington communities,” said Newhouse. I’m proud to sponsor this amendment which will help prevent secondary disasters such as flooding, rockslides, and mudslides that impact our communities when they are only just beginning to rebuild.”
“As we have seen in the past few years, wildfires are only getting worse in Washington state,” said Schrier. The aftereffects from these disasters like flooding, rockslides or mudslides can have a dire impact on communities, destroy property, and endanger lives. This amendment adds these wildfire impacts as a consideration for resiliency funding that will allow us to build stronger, future-proofed infrastructure that will protect our state, the 8th district, and our families.”
The amendment makes sure areas at risk of flooding, rockslides, or mudslides in the wake of a wildfire qualify for funding under the pre-disaster mitigation program established in the bill. The amendment passed the House of Representatives, and it is the latest of Cathy’s efforts to ensure rural communities impacted by natural disasters have the resources they need to rebuild.
NOTE: Earlier this month, Cathy introduced the Making Aid for Local Disasters Equal Now (MALDEN) Act, which would expedite the deployment of disaster assistance to rural communities impacted by a natural disaster. The bill would also require FEMA to work in coordination with state leadership to help the community identify short and long-term recovery resources, including resources to prevent secondary natural disasters like flooding, mudslides, and rockslides. The pre-disaster mitigation program established in H.R. 3684 could be one such resource.