Iowa Expected to Receive $37 Million in Federal Disaster Money

March 30, 2007

Iowa is expected to begin receiving an estimated $37 million in federal disaster money to help state and local governments and some utility companies recover from the late February ice storms.

A presidential disaster declaration covers 48 Iowa counties, most of them in eastern Iowa.

The ice storms knocked out power to thousands of Iowa homes and businesses. Utility companies had to bring in crews from other states to help replace broken power poles and electric lines.

Dean Cushman, a spokesman for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said the money, to begin arriving in six to nine weeks, will be used primarily for debris cleanup and assistance to electric utilities.

Municipal utilities and rural electric cooperators are eligible to receive money from the federal disaster assistance program, said Kara Berg, a spokeswoman for the Iowa Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

Investor-owned companies, including Alliant Energy Corp. and MidAmerican Energy Co., are not covered, Berg said.

The federal program covers 75 percent of eligible costs to remove debris from public areas and for emergency measures taken to save lives and protect property and public health. It also covers at least 75 percent of the cost to repair or replace damaged public facilities.

Some private, nonprofit groups involved in community service also are eligible.

Up to 75 percent of state and local government costs can also be covered for projects to prevent or reduce long-term risks from natural or technological disasters.

A similar request is pending for federal disaster money related to the blizzard which hit Iowa in early March, Berg said.

A separate state program was established to provide grants of up to $3,319 to cover losses incurred

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