Environment & Weather
Quinn, Durbin, Emanuel Announce More than $128 Million in HUD Disaster Recovery Funding For Chicago Area PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Katie Hickey   
Thursday, 20 March 2014 08:07

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel today announced that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Affairs (HUD) has awarded a total of $128,300,000 in funding through the Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery Program to communities in the Chicago area for recovery efforts following severe storms and flooding that began on April 18, 2013. This funding was made available through the fiscal year 2013 Sandy Supplemental Appropriations Bill, passed by Congress last year.

“Families throughout Illinois who were inundated by last year’s record floods are still rebuilding and recovering,” said Quinn. “This critical funding will help hundreds of families throughout the Chicago area get back on their feet. I thank President Obama, Senator Durbin and all of the Illinois federal representatives who worked to line up this vital assistance to families who need it.”

“Last April’s severe storms caused some of the worst flooding that I have ever seen in the Chicago area and surrounding counties, and forced hundreds of families to leave their homes,” said Durbin. “In the year since those storms hit, communities throughout the Chicago area have worked hard to recover. This funding will help in those efforts, and is especially critical for those families that lost their homes and are working hard to rebuild their lives.”

“The significant flooding that hit our area last Spring caused extensive disruption and damage to homes and residential areas,” said Emanuel. “This much needed funding will help Chicagoans repair what has been damaged so they can rebuild and move on with their lives.”

Under this announcement, the following communities will receive funding:

·         Cook County, Illinois: $54.9 million dollars;

·         City of Chicago, Illinois: $47.7 million dollars;

·         DuPage County, Illinois: $18.9 million dollars; and

·         State of Illinois: $6.8 million dollars.

HUD's CDBG-Disaster Recovery grant program benefits communities that have experienced a natural disaster. The program is intended to address housing, business and infrastructure needs that have not been met by other forms of public and private assistance, including disaster recovery funding provided through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Small Business Administration (SBA). For more information on the program, please visit: CDBG Disaster Recovery Assistance.

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Loebsack: Comprehensive Plan Needed to Respond to Future Propane Shortages PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Joe Hand   
Tuesday, 11 March 2014 08:42

Calls for coordination among federal and state agencies, governors

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Dave Loebsack today called on the House Energy and Commerce Committee to coordinate with relevant federal and state agencies and governors to establish an emergency response plan to address any future propane shortages like those faced in the Midwest this winter. At a hearing today entitled “Benefits of and Challenges to Energy Access in the 21st Century: Fuel Supply and Infrastructure,” Loebsack submitted testimony that calls on the U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT), Department of Energy (DOE), the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and governors to join together to be able to quickly respond to home heating fuel shortage disasters.

“It is clear from the hodgepodge of steps taken to address the problem that no comprehensive plan exists for all parties to coordinate and to ensure that a fuel supply disaster that threatens the livelihoods of thousands of Iowans never occurs again,” wrote Loebsack. “I am asking the House Energy and Commerce Committee to coordinate the development of an emergency response plan across all relevant federal agencies and state actors and governors to be able to quickly respond to home heating fuel shortage disasters similar to what the Midwest is experiencing this winter.”

The full text of Loebsack’s statement is below.

Congressman Dave Loebsack (IA-02)

Statement for the record

Benefits of and Challenges to Energy Access in the 21st Century: Fuel Supply and Infrastructure

March 6, 2014

“Chairman Upton and Ranking Member Waxman, thank you for the opportunity to submit a statement for today’s hearing on the “Benefits of and Challenges to Energy Access in the 21st Century: Fuel Supply and Infrastructure.”

“This winter, states across the Midwest have seen record high propane prices that have wreaked havoc on Iowan’s pocketbooks and quality of life. While propane prices typically average $1 to $2 per gallon, Iowans have seen this skyrocket to over $4 per gallon, and even top $5 per gallon in some instances. This is unsustainable and unacceptable for Iowa families.  The doubling and tripling of propane prices is causing thousands of Iowans to struggle to make ends meet and to keep their heat on during the extreme cold temperatures experienced this winter. In Iowa, propane is a critical fuel that heats 13 percent of Iowa homes in addition to barns that keep thousands of livestock alive during the winter months.

“Throughout the propane crises in the Midwest, Governors, the U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT), Department of Energy (DOE), and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) have taken important steps to expedite the shipments of propane to the Midwest. These steps were critical to providing relief. However, it is clear from the hodgepodge of steps taken to address the problem that no comprehensive plan exists for all parties to coordinate and to ensure that a fuel supply disaster that threatens the livelihoods of thousands of Iowans never occurs again.

“From the National Propane Gas Association’s testimony, there is extreme cause for concern over pipeline infrastructure flows, rail capacity, and exports causing supply restrictions that must be addressed. Consumers who rely on fuels like propane to provide a basic need like heating their homes should not be held victim to the profits of the oil and gas industry. This winter has additionally brought together a storm of crop drying demand and extremely cold temperatures that has contributed to diminished propane supplies. However, with the supply constraints and exports facing the industry, there is no reason a similar fuel supply disaster could not happen again. I am asking the House Energy and Commerce Committee to coordinate the development of an emergency response plan across all relevant federal agencies and state actors including U.S. DOT, FERC, DOE, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Department of Health and Human Services, and governors to be able to quickly respond to home heating fuel shortage disasters similar to what the Midwest is experiencing this winter.

“Thank you again for allowing me to submit my statement today, and I look forward to working with the Committee to address this critically important issue.”

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National Weather Service PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Sandra Stevens   
Wednesday, 05 March 2014 10:04

The Winter 2013/2014 issue of the National Weather Service Quad Cities' newsletter is now available on our website at http://www.weather.gov/quadcities/?n=additional-links#newsletter . This link also contains all past issues of our newsletter.

 

 
Gov. Quinn Announces $45 Million State Relief Package for Communities Devastated by November Tornadoes PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Dave Blanchette   
Wednesday, 05 March 2014 09:51

Governor Secures State Resources After Denial of FEMA Funding Appeal; Aid Will Help Local Governments Recover

SPRINGFIELD – Following federal denial of urgently-needed disaster assistance, Governor Pat Quinn today announced a $45 million state relief package to help Illinois local governments recover from the deadly November tornadoes. This assistance was assembled at the Governor's direction following the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) denial of the state's appeal for federal disaster assistance for local governments.

The relief package will provide much-needed aid for impacted municipalities, including Washington, Brookport, Gifford, New Minden, Diamond, Coal City and East Peoria. All local governments in the nine counties impacted by the historic tornadoes will be eligible for assistance. The counties are: Champaign, Douglas, Grundy, Massac, Tazewell, Vermilion, Washington, Wayne and Woodford.

“Our tornado-ravaged communities need help and they need it now,” Governor Quinn said. “While it's disappointing that our request for federal disaster relief was denied due to outdated rules, the state of Illinois is committed to providing assistance to communities that need it. Recovery won't happen overnight but this aid will help people rebuild their lives."

The state's multi-agency relief package for local governments includes assistance from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), the Illinois Finance Authority (IFA), the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA), the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) and the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA).

DCEO will provide up to $19.1 million in state and federal funds to be used toward disaster recovery. These commitments include:

·            Up to $10 million in state funds to local governments to rebuild tornado-damaged infrastructure.

·            Approximately $4.5 million of the agency’s Community Development Assistance Program allocation from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will be directed toward housing repair and reconstruction for low-income residents.

·            An additional $3.6 million is expected from HUD this summer to address unmet housing needs from communities impacted by last spring’s flooding or November’s tornadoes.

·            The DCEO Office of Employment and Training will supply up to $1 million in Rapid Response funding which will provide paid work experience to individuals to assist with disaster cleanup and recovery efforts – $138,875 of these funds are already being used for this purpose in Brookport.

·            Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and Weatherization funds are available to eligible recipients for a variety of storm-related issues including temporary shelter, transportation, utility reconnection, heating and air conditioning replacement, coats and blankets, insulation repair, generators, re-weatherization of damaged homes and technical assistance. The amount of funding available will depend on the number of eligible LIHEAP and weatherization households seeking assistance.

IDOT will provide up to $10 million for communities to repair storm-damaged infrastructure. IDOT continues to work with communities to identify eligible transportation infrastructure needs.

IFA, the state’s infrastructure bank, will immediately make available up to $4.5 million in below-market rate loans to finance repairs constituting capital expenditures to publicly owned and operated facilities that sustained damage in the tornadoes, not otherwise covered by insurance. Due to the legal and credit requirements of each individual project, the IFA will work through the Governor’s Response Team with individual local governments in the tornado-ravaged communities.

IEMA will provide $3.55 million to help municipalities pay for costs already incurred for items such as debris removal, emergency protective measures and overtime payments. This assistance comes from state General Revenue Funds.

IEPA will set aside up to $5.35 million in low-interest loans through the Illinois Clean Water Initiative to repair damaged water systems in impacted communities.

IHDA will provide $2.5 million in emergency rehabilitation assistance to approximately 50 low-income households affected by the severe storms. Eligible homeowners will receive up to $40,000 in assistance to pay insurance deductibles or provide home repairs. The assistance comes from the Affordable Housing Trust Fund.

For information on how local government can benefit from the relief package, please visit Ready.Illinois.gov.

The Governor recently addressed the National Journal’s Disaster Forum in Washington, D.C. to push for needed changes to the FEMA disaster aid criteria. The Governor is working with U.S. Senator Dick Durbin and Illinois’ congressional delegation to pass legislation that would give FEMA a clearer, more substantive formula when evaluating natural disasters. It will modify a flawed system that places small and rural communities in highly populated states at a disadvantage in the federal disaster declaration process. The bill assigns a specific weight to each of the factors already used by FEMA and adds other economic factors for the agency to consider when determining whether or not an area should receive federal assistance.

“FEMA has gotten it wrong in Illinois not once but twice,” Senator Durbin said. “The federal government can’t be expected to help after every weather event, but the damage I saw in Central Illinois convinced me that we need to be doing more. Senator Kirk and I have a bill—introduced in the House by members of the Illinois Congressional Delegation—that would fix FEMA’s funding formulas so communities in downstate Illinois are no longer at a disadvantage when disaster strikes. I am encouraged by Governor Quinn’s commitment today to help make these communities whole again and will be working with my colleagues to advance the Fairness in Federal Disaster Declarations Act and identify any additional federal funding opportunities.”

Shortly after the deadly storms on Nov. 17, 2013, Governor Quinn surveyed the damaged areas and activated the State Emergency Operations Center to coordinate the deployment of state resources and personnel in support of local response and recovery efforts. While federal assistance for local governments has been denied, just nine days after the storms the Governor successfully secured federal aid for families and businesses in 15 counties which has topped $23.5 million, including FEMA grants of more than $2.6 million and $21 million in low-interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration.

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The Papercrete Potter PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Amanda Heitz   
Thursday, 27 February 2014 15:11
In any given year about 55 percent of the paper created in the United States is discarded. That amounts to 48 million tons, or the equivalent of 720 million trees that are used once and then buried in a landfill. The ISU Scott County Extension & Outreach Master Gardeners have invited Lee Coates, The Papercrete Potter to teach the “Art of Papercrete.” With the simple technique you will learn in this class you will be able to turn a portion of this waste into a long lasting treasure.

Coates will teach each class how to mix the recipe and the steps to create weatherproof containers for planting, or a variety of sculptures, which could become a beautiful focal point in your garden. This is a simple, easily mastered process.

Each student will receive a mold and enough ready mixed material to build a papercrete bowl suitable for a dish garden. The bowl, mold, and a set of written directions are included in the cost of your class and will be yours to take home.

Beautiful containers, plants and items suitable for use in miniature landscapes and Fairy Gardens will be available to purchase, and there should be ample time to shop.

The event will be held on Saturday, April 5, 2014 at the ISU Scott County Extension and Outreach Office, 875 Tanglefoot Lane, Bettendorf, Iowa 52722, phone number 563-359-7577. Registration ends March 20, 2014.

Four one hour classes will be offered at: 8:30 a.m., 10:45 a.m., 1:45 p.m., and 3:45 p.m. Please indicate your first and a second choice of class times. The cost of each class is $20.00, payable in advance at the Extension Office, or by mail sent to the Extension Office at the above address.

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