Lawmakers want federal disaster funds for tree removal

HAMDEN, Conn. (AP) — Members of Connecticut’s congressional delegation want federal disaster relief made available to help homeowners cover the cost of clearing fallen trees and debris.

U.S. Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, and U.S. Reps. Rosa DeLauro and Elizabeth Esty, all Democrats, announced Tuesday they’ve introduced federal legislation that would overturn an existing federal law that bars Federal Emergency Management Agency assistance for such expenses following storms.

The cost of debris removal also cannot be included in damage assessments provided by FEMA to the president. The lawmakers say this rule makes it harder for states to qualify for disaster declarations and federal relief.

They say Connecticut homeowners faced costs up to $70,000 to clear debris and remove fallen trees after a series of thunderstorms and tornados hit the state in May.

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