Maryland Appeals FEMA’s Riot Disaster Aid Denial

July 10, 2015

Maryland is appealing the federal government’s denial of disaster aid to help the state and Baltimore recover millions of dollars in riot-related costs.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency denied Maryland’s request for a major disaster declaration last month, saying aid “is not appropriate for this event.”

In a three-page letter dated Tuesday, Republican Gov. Larry Hogan said he believes providing assistance is consistent with prior decisions, citing in particular a declaration after the 1992 riots in Los Angeles that were sparked by the acquittal of officers in the Rodney King beating.

Hogan said the major disaster declaration for Los Angeles was the “most compelling comparison” to the situation in Baltimore and that aid should “similarly be appropriate for the incident in Baltimore City.”

Hogan also noted other man-made incidents where major disaster declarations were approved: the 1993 World Trade Center explosion and the attacks on 9/11.

Maryland’s request included a $19.4 million estimate for protective measures and damage. With a declaration, agencies could recover 75 percent of eligible costs.

Rioting, looting and arson broke out in Baltimore in April following the death of Freddie Gray, who was injured in police custody. Hogan noted that during the incident there were 140 vehicle fires, 15 major structure fires, more than 370 businesses damaged and more than 200 occurrences of looting.

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