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State officials meet with FEMA about UI flood recovery funding

BY DI STAFF | JULY 12, 2012 6:30 AM

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State officials met with Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate Wednesday and discussed the Department of Homeland Security Office of the Inspector General recommendations to reverse replacement funding for three University of Iowa buildings.

"We had an encouraging meeting with the administrator, and our messages were well-received," said Rep. Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa. "It is unfathomable that almost two years after this project was approved, recovery funds could be taken back."

If the recommendations were accepted, the effects would take back funds and delay the timeline for full flood recovery.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said he was pleased with Fugate's response to the recommendations.

"It's good that Administrator Fugate is holding firm on the commitments that FEMA made to the University of Iowa," the senator said. "It's unfortunate that the University of Iowa is getting caught in an internal dispute at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security."

Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, said he will continue to work with colleagues in the Iowa delegation to support FEMA's current position.

"I am very pleased with what I heard from Administrator Fugate today," he said. "FEMA has taken the correct position. Spending tens of millions of dollars to repair damaged buildings that may well flood again is neither in the interests of the University nor those of taxpayers. In addition, the inspector general's assumptions on initial savings are likely overstated because repair costs will be higher given that these buildings have been vacant for a long time."


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