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InsiderOnline Blog: November 2012

Not Every Storm Is a Sandy

There’s no time like the present to point out that setting priorities is important even for the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Heritage fellow Matt Mayer:

Over the last two decades, more and more routine natural disasters that from 1787 to 1992 would have been entirely dealt with and paid for by states and localities have been nationalized by FEMA. From 28 FEMA declarations per year under President Ronald Reagan to more than 141 FEMA declarations per year under President Barack Obama, FEMA now gets involved with smaller scale events like tornadoes, snowstorms, floods, fires, and other events that have no national or regional impact.

Because a FEMA declaration comes with a shifting of at least 75 percent of costs to the federal government (read: the other 49 states), governors rush to FEMA as a cost-saving measure, not because their states are overwhelmed. With so many declarations being issued per year, FEMA resources (people, time, and money) are spread too thinly.

We need to save FEMA and its finite resources for the big events like Hurricane Sandy, Hurricane Katrina, the Northridge earthquake, and the 9/11 terrorist attack; conversely, states and locals need to bear the costs of those routine natural disasters that occur in their states. Ohioans shouldn't have to subsidize tornadoes in Oklahoma and Oklahomans shouldn't have to subsidize floods in Ohio. [U.S. News & World Report, Debate Club, November 1]

Posted on 11/01/12 06:29 PM by Alex Adrianson

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