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April 13, 2018

Trump urged to declare York County a ‘major disaster’ from March storm

U.S. Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Angus King, I-Maine, and U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-District 1, have asked President Donald Trump to declare a "major disaster" for York County as a result of an early March storm.

In a letter sent on Wednesday, the lawmakers urged quick action, expressing concern about negative impact to the local economy, particularly tourism industry, without timely repairs. On March 16, a Joint Preliminary Damage Assessment for Public Assistance requested by Maine validated nearly $2.04 million in public infrastructure damages across York County, which exceeds the state threshold for a federal disaster declaration of $1.9 million.

The lawmakers' April 11 letter to the president noted their "full support" of Gov. Paul LePage's request that York County receive a "major disaster" designation for the March 2 coastal storm accompanied by flooding, rain and high winds that caused extensive damage in Maine's southernmost county.

If Trump follows their recommendation the declaration would help York County towns pay for the damages and rebuild their communities, the three lawmakers said in a joint news release.

"During this period, repetitive high tides caused damage to sea walls and other coastal infrastructure, and offshore winds reached upwards of 60 miles per hour and created swells up to 30 feet," they wrote. "As a result, many coastal communities flooded, compelling the evacuation of residences.There were a total of 72 incidents requiring roads to be closed and traffic diverted from flooded and dangerous coastline breaking waves."

In their letter to Trump, the three lawmakers noted that response the storm's damage "has greatly strained the resources of the local and state government, and the governor has determined that the effects of the storm exceed the state's currently available capabilities."

"We are also extremely concerned about the potential negative impact the storm could have on the local economy, particularly the vital tourism industry, if the damages are not repaired in a timely manner," they wrote. "The State of Maine is greatly in need of this disaster assistance."

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Letter to President Trump seeking 'major disaster' designation for York County

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