Additional counties now eligible for public assistance

OKLAHOMA CITY The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management (OEM) announced today that 20 additional counties affected by the severe winter storms are now eligible for disaster Public Assistance.

 The counties added to the declaration of February 1, 2007 include: Alfalfa, Canadian, Comanche, Dewey, Garvin, Grant, Greer, Jackson , Jefferson , Kay, Lincoln , Osage, Pontotoc, Pottawatomie, Rogers , Tillman, Tulsa , Washington , Washita , and Woods.

 Also, Beaver, Cimarron and Texas counties are now eligible for reimbursement of eligible costs for permanent work under the Public Assistance Program.

 The Public Assistance Program reimburses local governments, state agencies, and certain private non-profits with federal funding for 75 percent of eligible costs. The State will pick up 12.5 percent of the eligible cost with the applicant taking responsibility for the remaining 12.5 percent.

 These counties may now be eligible for debris removal costs and expenses for emergency protective measures taken before, during and after the storms to protect public and private property.

 Reimbursement may also include permanent work expenses for the repair or replacement of disaster-damaged facilities including:

§ Public roads and bridges not on the Federal Aid System;

§ Public water control facilities including dams and drainage channels;

§ Public utilities such as water treatment, sewage treatment and electrical;

§ Public buildings such as police and fire stations, libraries and public office buildings, including their vehicles and contents; and

§ Public parks and recreation facilities including playgrounds, swimming pools, tennis courts, golf courses, ball fields, and boat ramps.

All 77 counties in the State of Oklahoma are eligible for FEMA's Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP).

Mitigation is action taken to reduce and eliminate long-term risk to people and property from disasters.

 HMGP provides grants to States and local governments to implement long-term hazard mitigation measures after a major disaster declaration.

Eligible applicants for this funding include:

§ State and local governments;

§ Indian tribes or other tribal organizations; and

§ Certain private non-profit organizations.