Governor Chet Culver is in Washington, D.C. meeting with federal officials and the Iowa Congressional delegation to push the need for more flood aid. Culver, a Democrat, says he is pushing for recovery funds and is also asking making the case for prevention.
Culver says he’s hopeful the state can get to work immediately on some of the remediation on the levee system, and cites a levee in Oakville that protects 25-thousand acres of farmland that needs to be rebuilt. Culver says the state needs federal money to move forward. Culver says he hopes an emergency appropriations bill for the midwest will help fill in some of the gaps to fund recovery.
Culver says the Iowa number in terms of unmet needs is 1.2 billion dollars, he says that is the money needed above and beyond what FEMA has already said they’re going to cover. Culver says there’s a precedence with Hurricane response, for Congress to approve the money when a state can show the need. He’s laying out the numbers to try and prove that need.
Culver says there’s 4 billion dollars of damage to the Ag sector, up to 4 billion dollars to the business sector, and the 1.2 billion in unmet needs for things like housing. He says that adds up to close to 10 billion dollars that the state knows of in terms of damage. Culver was set to meet with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi this afternoon to talk about the flood aid.
The governor also said today he continues to stand behind the decision to ask FEMA to pull out trailers brought to Cedar Rapids that had mold in them. Culver says the bottom line is “the health and safety of Iowans that’re living in these mobiles homes is our top priority,” and it’s unacceptable to have Iowans exposed to the black mold that’s been shown to be harmful.
Some officials in Cedar Rapids suggested fixing the trailers was a better alternative than pulling them out, but Culver says the trailers are poorly designed and can’t be fixed. Culver says,”We feel very good about the decision in terms of the public safety and public health affects, and we hope that FEMA continues to follow our lead when it comes to these policy decisions that are in the best interest of Iowans.” Culver made his comments during a teleconference with reporters.