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tv   Senate Homeland Hearing on FEMA Preparedness  CSPAN  November 3, 2017 11:59am-2:29pm EDT

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people turn on knowing what that is, you want to know. so it's a very, very powerful device that is, you know, the origins of literature. >> mr. lewis is the author of several books including "liar's poker," "moneyball" "the big short" and "the undoing project." we'll take your calls, tweets, and facebook questions. watch in depth with author michael lewis sunday, live from noon to 3:00 p.m. eastern on book tv on c-span2. >> fema administrator brock long testifies on the federal government's response to the recent hurricanes in his u.s. territories. the senate homeland security and governmental affairs committee is chaired by senator ron johnson of wisconsin. n
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>> good morning, the hearing will come to order.er i'd like to say on one hand, it's nice to see senator carper acting as my ranking member, but thesa circumstances are unfortunate to say the least. senator mccaskill's husband is in the icu, so senator mccaskill is with him in missouri. we certainly want to send them our thoughts and prayers, for claire, for joe, and their family members as well. >> i just mentioned, i texted with claire last night to see how he was doing. he apparently had a massive heart attack, a serious heart attack, and had an internal defebrlter that mayay have save his life, and there's some additional surgery work that needs to be done, but to what the chairman said, keep them in our thoughts and prayers. >> thank you.ng i also want to thank our witnesses. not only for being here, for your testimony and for what
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you're about to answer in terms of ouron questions, but really r the last two and a half months. i have been to fema's response center. i have talked to the men and women that are working with youk they have been doing an extraordinary job, working t 12-shower shifts, weeks in a row for weeks onen end. this has been unprecedented. starting with s harvey and then irma and then maria, within a span of 30 days, we just have not seen anything like this. i think it's pretty heartening, really, after katrina, the lessons learned, a lot of those lessons have been put into it place. and used to rather great effect, but s when you have hurricanes d disasters of this magnitude, you can't just snap your fingers and make it all well again. this is going to be a recovery effort that's going to go on for years. but i think the response and i
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think we'llay hear that in testimony today, has really been quite extraordinary. nothing is ever perfect. you can always have continuous improvement, but i think the mey and women who work with you in all of your agencies need to be commended. i think in terms of your management of them, also needs to be commended as well. again, i thank you. i think the committee thanks you as well. this will be what i consider first in a series of hearings. itit really, from my standpoint started with the high-risk hearing when i asked inspector yerl roth to take a look at the problems in fema grant lending, how we spend money in emergency situations, what kind of controls andf inspector roth responded very quickly, june 2nd, the letter to me, made a number of recommendations which we have turned into a piece of draft legislation working with senator mccaskill, also senator janes, anybody else on the committee who wants to work with us on that, we have been talking to appropriators on how to
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potentially marry that with some of the emergency funding requests, the supplemental funding requests we're passing here.th we're spending a lot of money. it needs to be controlled. i think that the issue with whitefish, i'm sure we'll get into that, is just exhibit a of how careful we need to be in terms of how we spend the taxpayers' hard-earned money. i'm hoping, and i see certainly with director long's testimony, we do need to review and lay out fema's proper role within the emergency management response. it's a subordinate role. if we can quick put up the chart there. wherever our chart is, there we go. everybody has this as well. this is just a history that is put together by the heritage foundation. goes up to 2011. it just shows the history of femahe declarations of emergencies. and it's really striking. back in the '50s, there were
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somewhere between 7 and 18 a year. in 2011, high water mark, 242 federal disaster declarations ol fema declarations. there are a number of reasons for that. certainly, we continue told bui. we have that moral hazard. we continue to build and rebuild in flood zones and hurricane zones and property values are increasing dramatically. but i think also, more and more often, states are looking to the federal government to do what i believe was probably more suited toward state and f local respon. as a result, it puts a great deal of stress on federal disaster resources and certainly fema, and i'm sure director long, you have felt some of that pressure over the last couple l days. so i think it's appropriate for this committee long-term to really take a look at what is the proper balance between state and local response and the federal response in these re situations. you know, from mypa standpoint,s
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much as we can rely on the state in terms of preparation, standing up to those emergency centers and the response before these disasters occur, the better off we're all going to be. so i want to make sure we're talking a little bit about that during the hearing. i did go down to puerto rico. i was down there on the 7th, about two and a half weeks n afterwards. i will say that my initial response, having flown over low-flying helicopter about a quarter or a third of the island, i was first relieved that thehe property damage was t anma extensive as i expected ito be. there's property damage, but i have seen pictures of st. enmaarten, and then two and half weeks, 22 of 23 ports have been opened. 75% of gas stations and grocery stores were opened. a third of the roads were open, but as we flew over, it looked likepa in excess of 90% were clear, but obviously blocked in certain choke points.
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cell phone companies responded pretty appropriately. kind of shared the burden, cordon off the island, fixed each other's towers. it will be interesting to hear what percent of the cell phone service is back and operational. all 72gi of the municipalities back then were already accessible by road.al so logistics problem was being eased. but the biggest problem was at that point in time, only 12% of the elekctrical power had been brought back online. ied convinced and i think i continue to be convinced that the primary problem long-term now in puerto rico and even before the n disaster was the power grid. it was weak. it was fragile before the hurricane. and now it's off line and a very complex problem trying to reestablish and maintain the balance of thefu electrical gri. we'll be spending an awful lot of money. from myt standpoint, that's go to be controlled. and hopefully it can be spent in
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a manner where we create a more resilient grid where we produce ail vibrant economy for puerto rico for years to come. i have been in contact with the chairman of the oversight board, and i just received an e-mail or a text from him last night. and they asmet, and i'm just gog to readr you the text. i'll enter it into the record. we have unanimously asked for a chief transportation officer to take over the transportation and power authority in order to establish power asow quickly as possible. we mustto transform the energy sector. in order to do that, we have to depoliticize the authority, open it up to competition in order to attract private capital. puerto rico does not want to return to d.c. with hat in hand in the future. they have named a retired air force colonel with organizational experience including management of energy and infrastructure projects that was signed by jose carrion, the
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chairman of the financial oversight board. they recognize the fact that we have a real problem with the governance of, the public ownership of prepa, and that was exhibit "a" based on the $300 million contract, which apparently now has been pulled back with whitefish. but again, i just want to thank the witnesses and i'll turn it over to senator carper for any opening statements you want to make. >> thanks so much. thanks for bringing us together. i know a couple weeks ago, senatorn mccaskill had called fr a bipartisan investigation scheduling hearings. i'm delighted this is to hear this is not the last t but the first of several. i want to express our thanks and appreciation to those at the table before us, those who work with you, for the extraordinary work they're tdoing. i believe in the last 100 years or so, we have had a total of 33 category 5 5 hurricanes that ha struck the united states. 33 in 100 years. and we had literally two within a week of each other this year. our friends at gao present to us
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each year a high-risk list, every year. things we need to focus on, ways if we did, we could send some money for years. we have been saying one of our high risks is the instance of extreme weather. the cost here is extraordinary. in terms ofle root causes, we nd to keep that in mind. i'm delighted to hear via the chairman mentioned the electric grid. in puerto rico. i oftentimes quote albert einstein who said famously, in adversity lies opportunity. as badad a the adverity is here there is also hopportunity. i have been to puerto rico a number of times as a naval flight officer operating there, as a governor hosted by a governor. just as a family vacation, and been around the island a fair amount. and my recollection is most of
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the power is generated south of the island. most of the people live in the north of the island. most of the power is generated from diesel power generators and utilities. and it is dirty, expensive. the cost for electricity in puerto rico is roughly twice what we pay on the mainland. and they have ann opportunity, talked with the governor rossello onyesterday, who was basically a teenager, his dad and i were contemporaries today in the national governors association. we talked about his vision. his vision would be to move power generation from the south to north where the people are, so you don't have to transmit all that t electricity from one side of the island to the other. and to use natural gas, bring down the cost. and right now, the diesel fuel comes from, i think, mostly from south america, including venezuela. we're not sure that's a good place to be dependent on. and the idea of having the ability of large ships to come in with natural gas to the
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north, to have power generation there, and to also, the governor said to me, this goal in time is to step up increasing dependence on the generation of electricity from renewables, maybe solar and wind, maybe distribution of electricity, things like fuel cell power generators for electricity, especially to help at hospitals and places like that. i want to mention my prepared comments if i could. i'm proud of our delaware national guard. wegi had national guard units deployed to texas, florida, puerto rico, u.s. virgin islands. we're grateful to the men and women, not just delaware national guard, but national guards all over thetu country tt are part of this team effort. mr. chairman, i hope in the very nearor future, we could have th governors of texas, maybe the governors of atflorida, puerto rico, the u.s. virgin islands before us so we can hear their
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perspectives on what worked well, whatin didn't, how we cou be more helpful, and maybe include some mayors. sometimes we don't want to always hear from people who are going to bere critical, but we need to hear folks who are cr critical as well as folks who think a good f job has been don. i like to say, the imperfect make it better. i thinke if we could hear from governors, and governors and otheres leaders, that would be helpful. >> we're at the beginning of a long and difficult rebuilding effort. it may well exceed $300 billion. more than double the total economic20 damage of both hurricanes katrina and rita in 2005. that the federal government is meeting the needs of the survivors of the disasters and at the same time, insure that federal funds, as the chairman said, are being usedd. efficiently and effectively. every dollar wasted is a dollar help on't be available to other americans who are still in need. allegations are problematic,
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mismanagement and questionable contracts, and many of us, i'm going to talk about this anyway. this has been discussed quite a bit. i don'tho think it could be discussed too much. a lot of us were shocked to learn of the $300 million contract to repair the electric grid awarded by prepa to whitefish energy, and a company with two full-time employees existed only two years ends up getting a $300 million contract. heaven help us. heaven help us. that's just unbelievable. can't overstate the urgent need for action to quickly restore power to theird homes, their structures as well as to insure the availability of safe and clean drinking water for all citizens of the united states. iwo talked about electric generation. i won't go into that further. looking forward to going down, i think senator murkowski is going to lead a delegation maybe as early as this weekend. i would love to be a part of that with her. they have a fair amount of
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jurisdiction overas this, as do this committee, as does environmental and public works where i serve as well. finally, just say i understand -- i think the time under which people can actually apply for individual assistance has been extended, maybe to march. can somebody nod their headd on that if that's correct? i heard something. okay. if you address that when you speak, that would be great. and yep, says here, fema last night extended the deadline to march. we're happy to hear of that. and mr. chairman, in closing, i want to say a few words about the obligations our federal government hasas to help rebuil when disasters strike our country, any part of our country, when extreme weather like this hits, it's scary, dangerous, often far more powerful than we imagined it would be. for those of us who haven't had the experience, it's hard to imagine. i have ridden out hurricanes in
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a navy destroyer off the atlantic coast. i have flown into monsoons in airplanesoa out in the pacific ocean. got run over by katrina with a bunch of boy scouts on a sailboat coming down the coast of florida during that storm. so had a little bit of taste of this stuff. it is scary as can be. but forbe the people whose realy has become a nightmare, they just want to know there's a path to a better and safer future. clearing that path is a shared responsibility. the residents of puerto rico, their leaders and governors must do their part, but our federal government has a moral obligation to help as well. like folks at home depot like to say, you can do it, we can help. that applies here, too. and keeping with the spirit of the golden rule, let's continue to make sure we just do that.ec thanks so much. >> thank you, senator carper. i wouldre like my full opening statement, my written statement into the record. >> i would like to make a similar request, thank you. >> without objection. it is the tradition of this
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committee to swear in witnesses. if you'll all rise and raise your right hand. do you swear the testimony you will give before this committee will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth so help you god? please be seated. our first witness is mr. brock long. mr. long is the administrator of the federal emergency management agency. he leads fema's workforce to respond to natural disasters and emergenciess facing the united states, hincluding the recent hurricanest harvey, irma, and maria. i don't know how long you were on the job before harvey hit, but stagain, i just want to tha you for your -- what i think is extraordinary service over the last two and a half months. >>sb thank you. before i get started, i would like to say that my thoughts and prayers are with ranking member mcgaskal and her husband.d. chairman johnson, senator carper, as well as the distinguished members of this committee, it's a pleasure to bd
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here today. it truly has been unprecedented, and i'm here todi discuss anythg you would like to regarding the response and recovery efforts that my staff has helped to coordinate across the federal partnership when it comes to all of thehe agencies that have bee involved in. like me, what i have seen in my agency is i work every day with people who areay truly deadcade who come to work every day to save lives and help people get on the pathway to recovery as well as become more resilient. i have beenn in offer 132 days. for 78 of those days, we have been actively responding to harvey, irma, meruearia, and th extraordinary california wildfires as ewell. each onera of these events that spoke of could truly be catastrophic ivenlts, stand-alone events, but they happened in a rapid succession of a 25-day period, which is unprecedented. chairman fjohnson, in regards this, you know, i think it's important to point out that before harvey hit, fema was responding to over 30 different
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disasters across the nation and many states that you folks represent. and not only in addition to those major disaster declarations, we were also responding to over 50 different fire management assistance grants due toto the wildfires tt are taking place. now, while there's many improvements to be made to insure a whole community response and make sure it continues to grow in a puzative way, i do recognize that there are manyly challenges ahead, particularly when itni comes to california, texas, florida, as well as the virgin islands and puerto rico. i want to put a couple things into context about the magnitude of this most recent response. if you start with harvey, all the way over to the california wildfires, over 25 million americans have been caimpacted. that's 12% of the population. and basically ame two-month perd or over a 50-day time period. the fema search and rescue teams alone saved over 9,000 lives. that's in addition to our dod t partners, coast guard partners,
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state and local partners, first responders, neighbors helping neighbors. like the cajun navy coming from louisiana to houston. tens of thousands of lives have been saved. over 4.5 million americans have been registered inside fema's individual assistance program. put that number in context, that'sin greater than hurricane katrina, hurricane sandy, hurricane wilma, hurricane rita combined. we have put over $2.5 billion into theta hands of citizens across the country to start that road to recovery. we can't make you whole, but we can serve as a catalyst to help you ovrecover. over $3.5 billion was expedited to our national flood insurance program immediately to our policy holders. that's projected to grow to $16 billion or $17 billion just for hurricanes harvey and irma alone. since the onset of hurricane harveyey on august 25, the nati has worked together with our mass care partners, red cross, state and local partners to shelter over at1.1 million
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americans. thee peak population in one nigt was 200,000. that's unprecedented. we don't have numbers like that ever ebefore. i also have reason to believe that the commodity commission and the humanitarian commission to puerto rico and the virgin islands as well as all of the states has been onene of the largest humanitarian missions in the history of fema. while there's existing response and recovery challenges that need tore be solved, chairman johnson, in regards to your opening comments, it's important to point out an optimal response should be federally supported, state managed, and locally executed. each level of government has a very critical role to play that we have to continue to define what the responsibilities are and what the target capabilities should be. in the case off puerto rico, thy were hit by two major hurricanes in rapid succession, which created a diminished capacity not only were their responders now disaster survivors, but the ability to respond was also
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compromised. that puts fema as the first responder, which is never a gooo situation. when fema is the first and primary ulresponder and the onl responder for many weeks, we're never going to move as fast as anybody likes, and i recognize that. moving forward, we continue to work every day to restore the power. particularly in puerto rico and virgined islands. restoring the power solves a multitude of problems andat it' going toor require our partnerst the army corps working hand in glove with governor rossello, who i talk to on a very regular basis. we have to restore the hospitals and medical functions to pre-disaster functions and consider how to make them more revillia resilient in the futures. each one is going too be unique and we're working to rectify those issues every day. cleaning roads, fixing roads, getting rid of debris is also a major mission. there's n 3.5 cubic yards of debris on puerto rico alone. communications and cell service, you know, it's something else. i believe we're up about to 85%,
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for example, on puerto rico. retail industry is back up to about 90%.ve the water systems are back up to about 80%. so progress is being made, but we have a long way to go. in the future, i haven't had a chance to catch my breath, do al exhaustive after-action review of all the things that just happened and what we have learned or where we should go, but i have several ideas. i think as a community, we have to streamline disaster recover programs that are offered from across the h federal government. we have to simplify them, streamline them, make them easy to understand, and help our state and d local partners understand when to use these things. i'll be asking for your help to do that. implemented survival implications. as we become more and more attached to our cell phones that the systems that are being implemented are resilient and redundant. we have to do more predisaster mitigation. predisaster mitigation is the key to becoming more resilient. we have to asinsure state and
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local governments like texas and florida are the examples have their own life sustainable commodity capabilities and infederal government is not shouldering t the entire burden. we have to find ways to preprayer our citizens. insurance is the first line of defense and thosese who are insured will recover quickly. we have to insure that states and baseline level capabilities that states have their own baseline cape blths to handle individual assistance and public assistance when federal disaster declarations have not come to town, and we have to do a lot of work to fix the program. these are just some of the things we have to work on and a multitude of several more ideas i have. i'mst honored to be here and answer your questions today. thank you. >> thank you, mr. long. our nextar witness is robert salesses. mr. salesses is a deputy assistant secretary of defense for eshomeland defense integratn and defense support of civil authorities. in this role, he is
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responsibility for the development of policy for civil thoerths andnk homeland securit interagency coordination. mr. salesses. >> thank you, chairman johnson, senator thcarper, distinguished members of the committee. thank you for the opportunity to testify on thee' department of defense'ses support of the fedel response to hurricanes harvey, irma, and maria. the department of defense is a fully committed and critical partner in the national response system. dod has a long tradition of working with our federal, state, and local partners in responding to domestic disasters and emergencies. led by administrator long and fema, dod plays a key role in the support to federal and state devasters. we also support other departments such asf health an human services, department of transportation, department of ar ener energy, and their role as emergency support function leads.ap dod is well prepared and has
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forces and capabilities ready to act immediately to sustain lives in the aftermath of disaster. dod insures a high level of preparedness by continually integrative planning, improving our training, and conducting joint exercises between our federal, state, and local partners. in advance of each of these hurricanes, secretary of defense directed dod to provide full support to life-saving, life-sustaining operations in coordination with our federal partners. based on this direction, dod postured significant capabilities, navy strips, strategic air lifts, helicopters, medical teams, and logistics. prior to each of the hurricane's landfall to assist the citizens of texas, florida, puerto rico, and the u.s. virgin islands. to date, the department of defense has responded to over
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311 mission assignments from fema and our other federal partners. using the total force and its response, thousands of army, navy, air force, and marines active inof reserve and guard he responded to these hurricanes. under the command of general robinson, federal forces conducted search and rescue, evacuation operations, provided damage assessment, surveyed and made repairs to open airports and sea ports. cleared critical roadways, transported life-sustaining commodities of food and water, provided fuel distribution, conducted assessments of civilian hospitals, and provided medical support to include evacuating- patients back to th continental united states. additionally, u.s. transcom has
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fleen over 60 flights in the last 60 days in support of thesr operations with over 1,900 flights in support of puerto rico and the u.s. virgin islands. transporting urgent first responders like hhs's disaster medical teams, relief supplies and equipment, and evacuating hundreds of residents and patients. the defense logistics agency has provided millions of gallons of fuel. over 850 generators, more than 100d million meals, and millio of liters of water and life sustaining commodities. the u.s. army corps of engineers conducted mitigation operations in houston and puerto rico, conducted maritime port surveys and openings along with the u.s. coast guard, installed temporary roofs to enable people to stay in their homes, provided temporary emergency power to over 550 critical facilities. these included hospitals, fire i stations, police stations, and
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other municipal buildings. more significantly, continues to work to restore puerto rico's electrical grid to its pre-storm status.. our military services at the installation level also provide a critical transportation, logistics, medical services to local officials and their communities under immediate response authority. and thousands of army and air national guard personnel working with theor respective governors from the affected states and the supporting states conducted search and rescue, evacuation operations, commodities distribution, and otherer critil support operations. the men and women of the defense department, military and civilian, were ready and acted with a great sense ofdi urgencyn responding to harvey, irma, and maria. chairman johnson, senator carper, distinguished members of
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the committee, thank you for the opportunity to appear today. i look forward to your questions. >> thank you, secretary salesses. our next witness is major general donald jackson. general jackson is the deputy commanding general for civil and emergency operations for the u.s. army corps of engineers. he overseas the work of the army corps in responding to major disasters such as the major hurricanes that recently hit the united states. corporal jackson. >> chairman johnson, senator carper, distinguished members of the committee, my name is deputy jackson. thank you for the opportunity to testify today. the corps conducts emergency response activities under two basic afauthorities. the stafford act and public lawt 8499. under the stafford act, we support fema under the national response framework as the lead agency for emergency response, public works and engineering. we provide temporary emergency power, temporary roofing, debris management, critical public facility restoration and
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temporary housing. under public law 8499, we prepare for49 disasters through planning, coordination, and training withiz local, state, a federal partners. we assist entities to implement advanced measures, and we repair damage to authorize federal projects and work with mew this t palties to restore themwh to prestorm condition. resources are mobilized to help with their response to the event. mission, the is corps has more than 50 specially trained teams supported by emergency contracts that perform a wide range of public works and engineering support fudgnctions just described. we use preawarded contracts that can be quickly started. we led in multiple events including hurricanes harvey, irma, and maria. fema directed 37 mission assi assignments in the recovery.
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currently, the corps has 183 employees still deployed. the corps assisted in temporary emergency power and continues to support the state of texas with the development and implementitation offend a tampary housing plan. we continue to provide state and local municipalities with debris technical assistance to monitor debris removal and disposal operations in 15 counties. fema directed 81 mission assignments to the corps to assist in hurricanes irma and maria.ge we have over 1500 personnel deployed. the corps has completed about 1,000 assessments and 550 generator installations across the caribbean. this includes about 250 assessments and 150 generator installations in the u.s. virgin islands and 750 assessments and 400 generator installations in puerto rico. we're also assisting with operation and maintenance of noncritical r generators across the island. the corps has completed over
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13,000 temporary roofing om operations in florida and ois on track to complete it by november.roud including in the caribbean, over 2,000 in the u.s. virgin islands and 4,000 in puerto rico. roofing requirements have been extensive, requiring additional material and construction support, which initially sloweda progress. we havean adjusted, added capacity, and are now seeing daily improvements in both locations. we provided technical assistance to counties across florida and georgia and continue to provide oversight to five regions within the florida department of emergency management. we'reeb working to remove 1 millionth cubic yards of debris from the u.s. virgin islands and 66 million cuban yards of debri in prk prb. the corps works closely with the coast guard and noaa and other authorities to open harbors and navigation channels across all effected areas critical to restoring commerce and allowing
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essential equipment to reach affected communities. we work closely with officials in texas and florida to manage reservoirs, and puerto rico, v teams worked closely to stabilize aea spillway failure a dam. additionally, the corps teams clearedwa additional conduits a placed emergency pumps to restore water flow to a critical plant that 0 restores the needsf 30,000 people. we were given a fema assignment to assist the puerto rico electric power authority. the corps is partnering with prepa in this effort and has established a general officer senior executive led task force as well as three officers on the island to oversea work and provide technical assistance. we have embedded experts in our team and continues to assist in our efforts. within two weeks of receiving the mission assignment, the corps awarded contracts for
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power generation to stabilize the grid insa san juan and for additional t line repair assets that will help efforts by prepa. the corps remains fully committed and capable of executing its otherte work acro the nation despite our heavy involvement in the response and recovery tooperations. we also remainin ready and pois to assist any future events as they may occur. this concludes my testimony and i look forward to answering any questions you may have. >> thank you. our final witness is dr. robert kadlec. dr. kadlec is the assistant secretaryhe for preparedness an response in the department of human services. includingg sending teams of medical professional s to affectediv areas and working wi local hospitals. >> thank you very much, chairman johnson, senator carper, and members of the committee. it is a privilege to appear before you to discuss our nation's medical and public health response. as director long identified an unprecedented series of category 4 and 5ha hurricanes that hit t
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u.s. mainland and its territories. hhs's roles are interagency partners, v.a. and dod have pushed many organizational and historical boundaries to save lives and people impacted by tho storms. i fullypl recognize that region in puerto rico and the virgin islands where people are still facing dire conditions. i saw the devastation first-hand and can assure you that hhs continues our response at 110% effort and will continue to work as hard as we can until the conditions s improve and we can bring people back to recovery. since this is, my first time testifying before this committee, i'll just begin with a brief description of this position. in response to your comments, mr. wchairman, about katrina, e diaspora was created almost 11 years agoto in response to katra by the pandemic hazard act. it helped in medical
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preparedness gresponse function under one person. i have the privilege of being the staffer at the subcommittee that drafted this legislation. the mission is to save lives and protect america from health and security threats. on behalf of hhs, we lead public health response to disasters and emergencies with emergency function number iseight, which includes all our federal partners that are here seated at thisth dais. today, the threats facing our country are increasingly diverse and more legal. my objective is to improve capabilities for the 21st century threats, and i'll doing that through four key priority efforts. strong leadership, creating a national disaster health care system, as director long identified that is more resilient and capable to the challenges we face in the future. sustain a robust and reliable public health capabilities that reside at the state and local level and are the backbone to any response to any future
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disaster circumstance, and lastly, advance an innovative medical enterprise. during hurricanes harvey, irma, maria, andinate, their severity created unique challenges. especially in puerto rico where no place, no person, no life was untouched. during my trip there, i was overwhelmed by the resilience of our fellow citizens who were making due in extraordinary situations that continue to improve over time because of the extraordinary efforts of the people and the agencies thereat are represented here today. our response for the strategy for healthve emergencies have bs three-fold. first, save lives, principally through the deployment of our disaster medical teams. you should be proud to know that i met with your fellow citizens from your states during my trips down to florida, texas, and to puerto rico, where folks from oklahoma, from wisconsin, from delaware, and from new hampshire wereen aiding their fellow citizens firsthand. second is to stabilize the
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health care system, insuring with fema such a very important activity such as uninterrupted fuelde supplies, water supplies could be delivered to not only hospitals butut to dialysis clinics to insure these vital systems stayed in place. and lastly is to restore health care services that need to be recovered to pre-disaster levels. in puerto rico, frankly, we're still tresponding. in over areas, recovery is under way. in order to save lives, we activated the national disaster medical system and deployed more than 2900 medical personnel from 21 states and hundreds of other federal employees including u.s. public health service corps personnel. for each of these storms, we po deployed teams before the storms made landfall so they were able to respond immediately once the storm passed. we cared for more than 22,000 patients in the affected states and territories. 12,400 in puerto rico alone, and
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sent 950 tons of medical equipment and supplies to these affected areas. i'm happy to swar any questions you have. thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today. >> thank you, dr. kadlec. i would like to start with administrator long. mr. long, you talked about -- you're in a real danger zone when fema is in charge of first responding, when you're no longer subordinate but leading the whole effort. can you just describe really how it's all supposed to work and why that's a problem? >> sure. so if you look at the stafford d act, the stafford act is designed to support state and local efforts. the way disaster declarations workty is when a local government's capacity has been exceeded, they call on county to county mutual aid first or other mutual aidti agreements to see they can mitigate the disaster rer sponse.
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if that's not working or the capacity has been further expanded, they'll call upon the state. the state will try to rectify as mucht as they can the disaster and then once that's been exhausted or the state recognizes that it's beyond their capacity, they call upon the federal government and we begin to mobilize. in many cases, you have seen the whole community work and the successful model was in texas, in florida, and now in ld california. while everything never runs perfect, for the most part, it is operating as it should. what we have to do in regards tu puerto rico, virgin islands, and other island territories is insure they have management infrastructure in place at both the state and local level and that we can also make sure that we have survivable communications. any time we lose communications and completely blake out like we did in puerto rico, it's hard to obtain situational awareness and
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fully understand what the response and recovery needs are. >> you have only been on the jou for hardly 32 days, but who is keeping track? apparently you are. but you have been involved in disaster response foror many years. has there been a shift? we created moral hazard? is there more of a growing reliance on the federal government being that first responder and being primarily responsible as opposed to being subordinate? >> that's a great question. i believe that would be in pockets. states, they're very capable states and there a are some states where i believe, for example, maybe we need to take a look at whichei states actually have rainy day funds and actually have mechanisms to be able to implement their own individual and public assistance programs. when federal disaster assistance is not coming. i also believe that many states or several states had their own life-saving n commodity capabilities. they have the ability to handle
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the first 72 to 120 hours where other states have not addressed those issues or island territories. i think we do have to go back and e?reestablish with our stat and local partners what is the baseline effort that should be there and put forward those capabilities to makeon sure we e prepared to back fill. one of the things i want to do is develop state integration teams. i want to move beyond the regional offices i have and put full-time staff in to make sure we're truly doing real integrative planning on a daily basis, that fema is part of the conversation every day so we fully understand how to support all governors when called upon directly. >> so that might be a pretty good action item here,st when y have time, go back and really do a state-by-state, territory-by-territory assessment in terms of their emergency management system, whether it's funding, whether it's prepared. we'll note that.
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finally, as i left puerto rico, to me, it was just all about power, power, and power. you have a disaster, a crisis already, but it will grow if we don't establish power. i would like to talk to the administrator and the whgeneral where are we at? what are the prospects of reestablishing power? what do we have to do? >> sir, right now, i'm exercising under the stafford act emergency authorities, which is why we mission assigned the army corps ofca engineers. it was the right thing to do initially because of the diminished capacity on the island. they're mobilizing under emergency authorities to rebuild the grid, to u.s. code standards. the discussion that needs to be taken after that is, how do we build a power grid that is resilient. that's going to require authorities far greater than the stafford act affords me at fema. you know, typically, what we have to do is restore to a predisaster condition, but obviously, that is not optimal and not the way i would ever
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recommend this country to go. we do not want to be back in this situation again after having thiss disaster and an opportunity to change it. so i'll turn it over to general johnson. >> mr. chairman, first of all, i think the grid today is slightly over 33%ad restored based upon e basic load it. had before the storm. so there's incremental progress that'san being made. the line repair and the restoratione activities that he been done up to this point have been done by prepa and the corps of engineers has done a few things in terms of getting personnel on the ground. we installed a 50-megawatt generator at a plant, this within the last week, that helped stabilize the grid and greaterr san juan area and adde about 40 megawatts to the system today and yesterday, which has been helpful in upper the power. we're approaching this in a number of differentau ways. first of all, the normal authorities at the corps of engineer has under the stafford
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act are temporary emergency power, which are generator installation. what we have done typically is we will come into an affected area, install the generators and then take them out as the power grid comes up. the power grid restoration activity islo usually handled t local public utility, and sometimes augmented by other capabilities outside the state. and this particular case, prepa chose not to activate the type ofur normal arrangements that a used by public utilities association, and so the fema turned to the corps of engineers to help prepa with the grid. the restoration of the grid based upon the emergencies that it created. so what we have done up to this point in order to do that is to continue our esa-3 temporary generator mission. we're almost at 400 temporary generator installations at this point today.d those generator sizes range from 40-kilowatt up to 1.5 megawatt. those get installed at
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facilities prioritized by fema and the commonwealth. that's typically hospitals, waste water treatment facilities, o communications platforms, schools and other places. we will continue to do that as the grid continues to come together. we have also worked very closely with gprepa, and again, just t remind everyone. we got this mission assignment on the 30th of september to do the grid restoration in puerto rico. so we have been doing emergency temporary power since irma hit, on the 6th of september. that mission started then and we have gradually increased our capabilities to do moretr and we'llbi continue to do so as lo as we need to. we awarded a contract to award the 50-megawatt generator to help stabilize the load in san juan. since the 30th of september, we have also worked closely with prepa to get an understanding of what material they needed to do this grid repair mission. if you can -- that's been an arduous effort because prepa
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didn't have a good handle or understanding on what they had of theirro lay-down yards. we had to go physically from place to place to count how many spools they had and wires and the mlike. we have done that, placed things on order and worked to get the material moving toward puerto rico. that's happening as we speak today. we also went through the process of awarding contracts. we are unable to enter into the mutual assistance agreement like the public utility could. so a mutual assistance agreement that's entered into by a public utility is similar to what we award for our debris, our temporaryre emergency power contracts, they're on the shelf, ready to award. they can be awarded right away. for the contracts that we have awarded to prime vendors, we have had to go through a competition process, and of course, with the federal acquisition regulation to award contracts, we have done that. we have today 150 contractors on the ground aside from the 450
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corps of engineer employees that are dedicated to the power mission on the ground today. by the end of the weekend, those numbers will rise up about another e500. and by the middle of november, we should have about 1,000 people on the ground. we're moving very fast to mobilize the line crews we need to continue the effort in support of prepa, and there are milestones we have beeny giveny the administration initially were 30% by the end of october, which we're there now. thankfully in part to a lot of the hard work that prepa is doing, and our next goal is 50% of pre-storm load by the end of november. that's the goal that we're shooting for right now. >> thank you, general jackson. by the way, let's go seven-minute rounds. there's a request for two rounds, which we can do is people stick around. all said, be mindful of time. senator carper. >> thank you. thank you very much for your testimony. my wife, mr. long, is a graduate of appalachia state university. dad taught there for 40 years. youmo went to graduate and
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undergraduate school there. she asked me to tell you the mountaineers are proud of you. i recall meeting your wife and children, i think, at your confirmation hearing, and to your family and to the families of everyone who each of you represent, whether it be fema, part of thene army corps, or he folks. i just wantt to really convey or thanks to them for the support they're providing for the loved ones to help people in dire straits. i want to stick with the issue of energy. lieutenantur governor, thought lot about how to provide a nurturing environment for job creation and job a preservation and energy is a huge part of that. if they don't have affordable energy in puerto rico, didn't have it before, and they don't have reliable or dependable energy today. i said earlier,adversity lies opportunity. my conversation yesterday with thee governor of puerto rico,
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where we talked about the power is generated in the south of thr island. most people live in the north. they use diesel to provide power for the electric grid. the electric grid is badly fr damaged, and they still have this reliance on oil,en a lot of whi comes from south america. when i look around the world, one of the -- a smart energy program involves natural gas where it's cheap and to supplement that with renewables. and when the renewables -- the wind doesn't blow and the sun doesn't shine, bring up the nax and provide the electricity in a cleaner way than from diesel or other fossil fuels. let me ask -- i said earlier the governor said to me yesterday eventually wants to increase their dependence on renewable forms of energy to as much as 30%. that's his goal. i embrace his goal. how do we make this ham and how
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can we help make this happen? >> i'll take a shot at that first. again, my authorities are limited to the stafford act. one of the issues the army corpr is facing is the age of the infrastructure in puerto rico, the power plants was close to 40 years averagers age. worldwide the average age of power plants is about 18 years soin there's a dig big diskrbig there. we're running into deferred maintenance issues and different things. if you put all that aside, what i have the authority to do under emergency sennial services is to get the power back up and running to preevent further loss of life and public health events from occurring. in regards to building innova innovati innovative, more energy efficient -- >> and might i add more resilient. >> yes. that's probably what's needed.
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but the authorityta for me to spend in taxpaying dollars to ds that i'm not so sure that i have and that's something that i would ask this committee to take a look at. >> general? >> thank you, senator. everything you said was right. >> i rarely say everything right. a special day. >> most of the powerration is on the southern part of the island on most of the population densities are on the north. so those north/south transmission lines are critical. about halfar the power plants around puerto rico are fossil fuel. the other hatch are a combination of wind and solar.ve department of energy has take an hard look at that. just for what they have on the island rightea now produces or supposed to produce about 250 megawatts of power. they only use about half that. there's a lot of room for addressing less power plants, more efficient that produce the
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right amount of pow we are the right type off fuel to service the requirement thatt exists on thet island today. andel the department of energy s been thinking about that and they've been looking at that. and they've been working very closely i think to help understand some of the challenges. to make recommendations to the administration and to congress on things like what type of -- how much load do they really he need and how much redundancy do they need in a system and how do they build additional capabilities to balance that hold across ke demands in the em system, how do they modernize the system to include the hardening of the system to improveon resilience, these are things that thee department of energy has ideas on that they shared with me that i know they are working up as part of -- i think it's fema report that we have some recommendations or maybe the long term, what a long-term solution might be for power and other things. so d.o.e. is looking at that hard. they have some real smart guys on the ground there with us going through the work that we're goingsu to help guide us d
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make sure that we're doing the rightt things but ultimately they're also looking at what's the right way ahead for the few which are of puerto rico so they can make those informed recommendations to the leadership. >> you mentioned d.o.e. has smart guys on the ground there. my staff and i would like to be able to reach out to them and talk with them. we'll ask you to vid that contact information asap. >> yes, sir. >>us usually it takes weeks if t months for full assessment of damages to be made.ar an estimated of the total cost to rebuild. i want to ask for everybody, how far along are you in the process for texas, for florida, pre pr, and thele u.s. virgin islands? when do you expect those complete assessmentsti of needso be ready? we're expecting a third appropriations bill. will the administration need to make further as the assessments
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aret completed? >> first of all, i want to thank house for and the responding very quickly to every request for emergency supplementals. i know my guys have been working around the clock to make sure you guys stay informed of when we believe that we're bumping up and running out of disaster relief funds. so i truly do appreciate it. i we've asked for three supplementals if i've asked correctly this year alone. in regards to where the virgin islands all the way to california, each one of these states or island territories is in different stages of the recover, but each one of these is going to be a tremendous long recovery. it will be a long haul for each one. for example, texas and florida are obviously still focused on recovery housing andin making se that we provide, you know, people with the proper place to stay has the rebuilding begins as well as debris removal. california is in the same boat as well. they there's still some
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sensitive tis in theri state of california has to when it comes to hazardous materials and then associated with the debris but also with, you know, rainfall when you burn off the pl vegetation, making sure that we mitigate against watershed issues that come into play as well. so everybody's in different stages. but the long-term recovery will be long.en i don't think we have a good handle on the kops of this. my guys will be in touch with your staff members to make sure we don't fumble the ball when it comes to disaster recovery, and eel do our best to take care of taxpaying dollars everyry day. >> thank you. preachily respond to the same question, please. >> go ahead. >>ge senator, i wanted to comme
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on the power grid for puerto rico. we're still aszing the damages. we got t initial reports from prepa when we first were giveren the mission assignment and we found the damages weren't as great asdo originally report ld but we have to put people on lines and make sure just because the line isn't laying on the ground doesn't mean it's operable. we're in the process of doing that now and we'll probably be doing that as we do the repairs for next several weeks and we'll be able to put together i think a much better assessment of what the overall cost to the standard we're seeking under the stafford act in short order. >> i'm going to ask questions for the record and ask the same question and ask you and your stamps to respond toes that question. all right? thanks very much.rs >> really appreciate a number of members here. i bumped the questioning up to seven minutes and i want members and witnesses to stay within thatll seven minutes as close a possible just out of respect to everybody. senator tester. t >> will do. thank you, mr. chairman.
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first of all, i appreciate this document. i appreciate it a lot. it's an instructive piece of information and it's instructive because what it tells me is that we are going to continue down this road until we start looking at real costs, and i know we never ever want toow accept the fact, because it is a bit uncomfortable, what we do with a changing climate, but when we have towns evacuated in the middle of montana due to wildfire, we have some major things mother nay xhur is telling us and if we don't address it, we're not doing our fiscal fiduciary responsible. brock long, i think you're doing a great job. you came in under difficult circumstances and getting pounded and pounded and pounded and i think you've really put your shoulder to thepr wheel an worked as hard as you could in a very difficult situation so, i want to express my appreciation.
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a couple things. in your testimony you talked about 3.5 cubic yards, was that million cubic yards of debris on puerto rico? >> it may be off. >> 3.5 million? >> inr that -- that may be an older number. the numbers are changing. >> you also talked about predisaster mitigation in your opening remarks andat i think t savings is for every one dollar in predisaster mitigation it saves four bucks on disaster and on the backside. i don't think we're spending enough on mitigation, and i think your testimony implied that. do you have any ideas on what we need to do to address this issue? >> absolutely. you know, the problem with the way the system is established is you have to get hit to have an extraordinary amount of s postdisaster hurricane mitigation funding. i believe that's not the right way of doing business. i believe specifically section f 404 in the robert t. stafford
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act40 dictates how money is formulated or provided for mitigation purposes. the 404 money, it would be amazing if we could work with the senate and this committee to moveve to the front side, to ofr up on average i believe we put out 700 or 800 million dollars in postdisaster mitigation funding. why were we not doingfr that on the front side and get it out of recover, reduce the complexities of recovery, and put it up front.th i don't know what the right mix is ort the real amount of mone to make a dent in it is but it has to be money up front. i do believe the key to resiliency is held at the local government, the local officials, building codes, different things, making sure there are redundant systems that are in place so, it will have to be a whole community effort on the predisaster side, but if we could move that 404 funding toe
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the front side of disasters and it will not bese an easy move, think itat makes perfect sense d i think we can all agree that that's what needs to be done. >> okay. well, that's good. if you have any language that you could forward to this committee and the subcommittee on homeland security on that, i would appreciate that. >> absolutely. >> becausera i think that it's no-brainer. major general jackson. you're assessing the grid in puerto rico. are you about done with that assessment? i don't know if you can answer, is it shot, 90% shot, 95%, 100%? where is it at? i'm talking about done. start over, rebuild. >> the answer to that is no, it's not shot. the initial reports that we got said there was 100% damage to distribution. that's 31,000 mimes worpt of line. that's not the case.
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the initial report said obviously that all of the -- 80% of thena transmission lines wer shot. that's 2,400 miles high voltage -- >> what do you think it is? i mean, what do you think it is? >> literally, i mean, part of it is just -- let me start by just saying we've got to -- as i flew over puerto rico a couple weeks ago, there's a lot of lines that are d up, visibly. there are lot of lines that are down visibly. the problem is until you get folks on the ground to see if those line s and the components that make um the line system are operable, you don't know if the line is energized. that's what we're doing right now. we're not doing a full assessment and waiting to do repairs. we already sort of know where we need go and what we need to focus on. >> so what i'm trying to get here is this. w we've been told that the or transmission -- the distributio system of puerto rico was horrible before the storms hit. are we doing repairs to a horrible distributionn system o
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are we fixing a horrible distribution system? >> sir, under the stafford act we are: fixing the system to g power out the people as fast as -- >> soan the next hurricane hits it's not going to knock down everything that wasn't knocked down in this hurricane, we're back in the same bolt. >> ifhu off category 4 or 5 hurricane, unless the lines are buried underground, it will knock lines down. >> even if it's new construction. >> even if it's new construction. >> all right. is there any effort to talk about maybe developing generation soo that the distribution isn't as needed? i'mm talking not only renewable but even convention nam general generation? > my understanding, as the senator alluded to, the governor has an t interest in locating t power generation more centrally to the population densities they support, obviating the needs for the long transmission lines
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acro across the island. d.o.e. is looking at that to put together ideas for the leadership. >> i don't know if youry this o ifin somebody else does, this b are you looking at every option, not only not only carbon base bud also solar and wind and geothermal? >> senator, my understanding is d.o.e. is looking at what the mostyt efficient modern appropriate system would be for puerto rico to make those time recommendati recommendations. >> do you guys know anything about prepa? here's what i know about it. it's nine-member board that i should be tickled pink they gavn a company to a contract in montana, but look at the ts situation, two people, never done disaster work before. what kind of people are on this board?ell
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nou big contract. i have to tell you something, if it was any of you guys, if it feels you, brock, i would have started out saying you're doing a great job, i'll tell you that, okay? so beyond what'se going on her. and beyond where the accountability is. we have a federal financial oversight board. maybe they're not doing their job. but somebody's not doing their job. would you agree? i see some head nods and -- thank you very much. >> there is a governance issue, no doubt about it. senator peters. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and thank you to eeach of you for te work they're doing in these disasters. given what's happening with the climate, we may be seeing more of these disaster, bigger, stronger, anincreased frequencyo it's important we take lessons learned from what we of seen here and a understand we'll probably have to be applying them again and again going forward.
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my time is short today, but i wanted to just alert you that i sent a letter to you yesterday in my capacity as a rnking member on theon federal managemt oversight subcommittee of this committee, and in that letter i asked a series of detailed questions about fema's response to hurricane maria and the humanitarian crisis in puerto rico. i'm not going to go into all of those details but i hope for a quick response because i'm sure our subcommittee will have further hearings on this matter and it will be helpful to frame this discussion. if i could have that entered into into the record. >> without objection. >> absolutely i'm aware and we will respond quickly. >> i appreciate than p as many of my colleagues have mentioned the concern aboutnd particular vly in puerto rico is to make sure we have sustainability built into any kind of the response. and i lim know the stafford act prevents that from happening and the fact that it talks about limiting rebuilding to the way it was in place when the disaster occurred.at
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you alluded to that as well in your comments. do you think it's time for us to take a look at the stafford act? would you recommend us taking a good look at whether or not that makes sense given the situation we're inrk now and what will likely be future situations given the climate change? >> yeah. and i work with my staff every day and there are definite changes to the stafford act that we could consider, but i would also like to take the time to methodically go through those and submitma those if there are recommend dapations not only fry staff at fema but the emergency management community as a whole. i'm always for reviewing and betteringo processes. there are opportunities for mitigation as a result of going through this. but rebuilding a grid to the level we're all discussing here is not within my authority. i'm concerned about the deferred maintenance issues when it comes to restoring as it is. >> i appreciate working with you on that.
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as we talked about before, personally some of those disasters that may not be on the stafford act, such as the disaster we had in michigan, at flint, i think a lot of lessons learned from that disastery as well that means we need to take a hard look at the stafford act and make improvements the make sure the american people get the help they need when disaster strikes their community. that leads to my next question, which relates to the e long-term nature of these disasters, especially from myai experiencen flint is that aid is normally available when the temperature cameras are running. usually there's quite bit of aid once the publicea media attenti is there. the challenge is when the cameras stop v covering the e pe haven't and these folks have to deal with thesect disasters for many years in the future. my question is how long do you expect fema to be working in the areasha affected by these hurricanes, and duceor the capacity to handle that workload, which is probably going to be over the next decade or more? >> at this point, no doubt about it, when i would comes to
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recovery, we're stressed. we're having to rob peter to pay paul as you could say from other disasters. i think right now we have roughly 26 open disasters that we're working nationwide that don't get media coverage and so inpo some cases what we're try g is go to more virtual models and hopefully states are calling upon state to state mutual aid to be able to start managing a lot of their disasters and doing things more virtually, but in regards to most recent, these four events that we're talking about from the california wildfires to the threeh. major events, it's going the take many years to go through. in some cases when it goes back to your question on the stafford act, we do have section 428 of the stafford act that allows us to do -- move in a more expet p/e dieted manner and a more resilient manner but we have to make desituations as to whethe or not the program isce working. it does reduce the sheer number of project worksheets that we have to generate and allows us
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to do work more efficiently, and i would like to continue going down that path. but also take a comprehensive look at how do we get locals and state government t to also make sure that they're funding for staff positions adequately as well. when it comes to future grants, i would rather have grants to hire and train proper staffing than to buy equipment. there may be people that disagree with me in the industry, but you can't replace human beings, and that's what we need when it comes to the large amount of disasters we're facing. >> with these large disasters, i know it's still early to get a sense of what the cost will be, which will be very r large, and think all of you have referred to the fact that's an ongoing process right now, but do you have any indication in terms of the hurricanes, how do you think the cost will stack um? which will be the most expensive, how would you rank them? it's interesting.
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look at harvey and irma, 2.5 million people alone have been entered into individual assistance. 2.35 million. harvey, we're still under a million. but then when you look at the impacts to housing, the amount of moneyba it would cost to fix flood-based housing issues is going to be tremendously more expensive than i believe what we may see in florida. california is a whole other -- as long as i've been doing this, i ofli never seen a more disturbingly disaster in my lif and i think they lost 6,800 homes in that. so each one is tremendously different and the costs will vary based on what the ssmss are that are needed. as far as overall cost, i of heard numbers inside from my finance guys saying we're probably spending about $200 mm a day right now just responding to the four disasters that we're facing. >> and how would you rank them? in terms of hurricanes, which which will be the most expensive for us and the second most? i've heard estimates texas will be number one?
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is thatt accurate? >> probably texas. probably texas. well, i don't know, i take that back becaused we're not done wh puerto rico. we're still trying to uncover that. but i would believe right now texas is the most expensive one, but that's just a pure guess and we still have numbers coming in. >> with long-term funding we have to have local and state government engageeengaged. they need to make plans for long-term investments but it's difficult for them to do that without knowing the amount of money that's available, isn't it? >> yeah, absolutely. i mean, here again, the money comes mostly -- the largest majority ofon the funding that states interact with fema is definitely on the recovery end. and that goes back to the predisaster mitigation point. how do you plan to implement mitigation strategies when you have to get hit and you're not
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sure how much money you're going to come into based on the type of disaster? dha's why we have to repre plan, take it outk of recovery, do i um front so you can do better visionary planning over the next few years to truly mitigate your communities. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> senator harris. >> thank you, mr. chairman, for this hearing on hurricanes. i appreciate the administrator speak of california. this hearing is not about wildfires, but i would like to urge that we do everything we cann to you, as you recognize, e lost 42 looichs and the estimate is 8900 homes and structures. on that point, fema, you're doing a great job, the army corps of engineers, i was there, i visited the site, met with the families and you're absolutely right. it's devastating to those families and that community. in terms of fema, there is still a need, and i'll put this on your radar, for individual
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assistance to hem cover temporary housing. you mentioned that. it's a big issue throughout the country and certainly in california arnold affordable housing. and i know that fema does not have the a number of trailers a the -- they're not on the production line in a way that we can getet them to california as soon as they'reby needed so there's still a need for temporary housing, help and basicun essentials like clothin and baby formula. and fromop hud, if you can jups pass this on, funding for perm negligent housing is a big issue. crop insurance from usda. and then from the sba we need business loans for small businesses that have been destroyed. to v so igh thank you for that. on october 27th through the environment of public works committee, which i am also on, we sent a letter to fema and the epa and the army corps of engineers asking for information about a time line and the work thatis has been completed or is yet to be done as it relates to
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debris. so i'd like to get an answer to that and if we can get that within the next week i'd appreciate that. there are about seven specific questions. but as you're aware, and has been mentioned here, there are millions of cubic feet of debris in puerto rico, and it is my understanding we're looking at debris that is large. it ranges from rooftops to garage doors to refrigerators and couches, debris that people who live the cannot pick up andu move. there's also been a compromise to the landfills that existed it puerto rico before the hurricane hit and remain a problem. it is my understanding that fema plans to remove debris, but i'm not clear on what the time line of scrimmage is for e actually getting that completed. can you tell me what that plan is? >> so eesm one of the events is extraordinary different again and there'she no one size fits e approach when it comes to debris
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removal. the californiate wildfires if i may use that as an example. because of the nature of the hazard, you first have to g through and make sure you remove all the hazardous materials from personal property. then obviously as you said, the number of h deaths is projectedo go up to over 80 and that's because we're still searching for remains in a very humane manner trying to make sure we go through debris and find remains. after all the environmental piece is done and we correctly go through to look for remains, then a lot ofif the debris contracting is done at the local level through private contracts. if those contracts fail or the governor requests me specifically, we can officially asuhn the army corps of engineers, and i believe you mission assigned to california and some also to puerto rico. debris in florida was done differently. a large majority of that was done at the local level by debris contracts that they
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established. each oneo of these may have different time lines because of the types of degree v brie, but like puerto rico -- >> what is the time line for puerto rico? s >> senator, i don't have an exact time line for puerto rico. we have just started scratching the surface on debris removal. we of run into some really interesting politics within the 7878 municipalities that make u puerto rico in terms of how they are allowing us to gain access. so we're in some significant negotiations, many of the municipalities have come backat and said we don't really want you to do it, we'll take care of it ourselves. so we're going through that right now. i willan respond to the letter u sent with a much more defin tici time line than i just gave you. >> i would appreciate it. and if you could alleges follow up on this plan about what jurisdictions within puerto rico are hesitant to cooperate with your efforts so we can make sure we do our part to figure out how tora get some cooperation. >>my we'll do that, senator. >> okay. and dr. kadlec, my understanding is that the debris piles that
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are occurring in puerto rico that they are wet from the recent rains, they are attracting pests that range from rodents to mosquitoes, and there is also a concern that the pets that are going there and the rodents that arein going there e leaving great amounts of urine that is also seeping into the waterways. can you talk for a moment about the health risks associated witu this accumulating debris? >> well, ma'am, there are several issues that have to be dealt withh in that. one is the moldy kind of debris you'd be anticipating and again fun gal growths that would be causing exacerbations for respiratory diseases like ct asthma. you'd be concerned about the immunosuppressive fungal growths out there. .. the l biggest thing is you find people climbing on the debris piles, routing around in them, solace rations, soft tissue
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injuries that come from that. >> and: bacterial diseases. >> yes, ma'am. >> that could lead to death. >> the last ow oneentipt you med and i'll mention because it's a matter of interestings, leptospirosis, endemic to puerto rico. in the rainy season, august through december, cases have been defined or declared and a couple of deaths suspected with that. it's a disease that is remedied by antibiotic therapy. about ahi week after the landfa of the hurricane we were working with the state ep deidemiologis and again,s everything we do i in support of the department of health on puerto rico basically making available courses of antibiotic treatment to basically treat anticipated levels of lem toe spi-- leptospirosis and other bacterial infections. typically it's about 100 cases a year. p we'd expect that to go higher bauds of the nature of the events so we of provided several
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thousand courses of treatment for puerto rico. beyond those kinds of circumstances you'd be concerned about tetanus. we've also made available tetanus vaccines through cdc and also made available 24 environmental health officers to work with the department of puerto ricovi as well as epidemiologists to track not only these kinds of environmental hazards but also theon cases that would be associated with. >> mr. chairman, i recognize my time is up. i would like a s flum from eesmo wh has information about the incidents we're also hearing of people in puerto rico drinking water from superfund sites because of their desperation to get drinking water and obviously there are of course huge health risks associated with that. thank you. >> senator lankford noop thank you, mr. chairman. gentlemen, thank you for being here. i have a multitude of questions i'll tryth to blitz through in
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short amount of time. this comes s back to the preparation side of this. the bigger waters flood insurance program in 2012 required a report every six months on howfl we're doing on e debt, what's happening there, what process do we have to be able to work out of the flood insurance debt. the previous administration just stopped doing that report at the end of last year so, if we don't have that really for two years so it made it difficult coming into this year ando trying to deal with of course flood issues when we don't have a report for the last two years. o do you know when that is planned to irestart? i understand full well in the chaos trying to go with what's happening currently that's probably going to be behind again. but do you know where that is in the process of zmoosh i do not but we will follow um directly with you. >> that would be helpful. you mentioned about trying to interact with private entities in the private sector on flood insurance. any specific ideas on that, what you plan to bring at the end of this? >> the program is underneath my
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authorities -- i'm not an insurance expert when it comes to fixing nfip. going into harvey, if i remember correctly, give or take a couple million here, we were $24 billion in debt roughly.bt and then anytime you have a massive event -- katrina sent it into debt, sandy sends it into debt, harvey, irma are going to send it into further debt, which you guys have recognized. we have to fix the business framework and i want'sto got to require a solution from the private sector. i think the private sector should drive lot of the market. if we're going to continue to reward bad behavior by building in flood zones then there needs to be actuarial risz, that were involved. i fully understand the affordability issues, but i also believe this we can't continue to allow conducting business under the same framework and continuing to go into debt. i don't want to run a program that goals intow debt, so i kn what i don't know and i know we need the private sk or the sum
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port, i need your support to figure out the best way forward. >> let's work our way through this, which we understand will be months and years into the process butut we need some helpo be able to sit down at the tabl and figure this out. we have ideas we're bringinger to for the practitioners. we have to deal with outside private sector insurance. we don't want to create a situation where private sector creates insurance policies and as soon as they have claims they walk away from it. that doesn't help those individuals orn then federal government. there has to be some ways to establish some back stops that will work long term and provide some affordability.y. so i'd like to commit that in days ahead we'll try to get some ideas worked out and need a long-term plan. thaes not a year to resolve but a decade or more but we have to get started on it. with fema there's been some interaction, and i won't press you on this because we've talked about it before, but it is odd still in florida and in houston and in puerto rico that if united way facility has devastation or a zoo or a museum
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has devastation, they can engage with fema for hem, but if a mosque, aro synagogue, or a chuh has devastation they cannot. all of those are nonprofits. but for those that are considered houses of worship, they can't engang in the same e way. i feel like in reading the law from the 1990s when congress said that nonprofits would be on included, that's all nonprofits andt. i'll be able to continue that conversation in the days ahead with you on that. i know there's been some pushback, which i think is reasonable to be able to ask that question on that. >> sure. >> general jackson, your family is doingng good? >> yes, sir. thank ouyou. >> good. good to see you again. thanks for serving the nation. you mentioned a comment about hatch of the power generation in puerto rico is from wind and solar and half from fossil fuels. did i hear that correctly? >> yes, senator. >> of those that are there, what remain? what is the most resilient, still working, redoomable of
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that? >> interesting you mention that because i was surprise surprised when i flew over the solar and wind, the blalds of the farm were snapped off and the solar panels were all smashed. the actual power plants that held um the best were the typical standard power plants, be it the natural gas or coal fired or heavy diesel or what have you. so just the structures themselves held up better than what the renewables did. >> i'm not anti-renewable, but i think part of the conversation we have to have in helping puerto rico get back on its feet is look at resiliency long term. so i want us to be able to look at all of those things as we go through the process and i know there will be a common conversation around this horseshoe to figure out how you get them back in place. i'm askingt a question that i know is unfair, so i'm going to tell you up front. we're all concerned about why puerto rico did not choose to do mutual aid for. their power
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reconstruction. texas did, florida did, other groups when they have experienced it, they asked for mutual aid engaged. what have you been told why they didn't do that? cow can't tell me why. i'm only asking watch you been told why they didn't ask for mutual aid? mr. long, the question ishe tommingor to you next on that a well. why didn't they request general aid? >> the reason they did outreach at some point for mutual ald but a because it's a cost shared arrangement and puerto rico is in a financial situation that they're in, that utility companies were hesitant to engage because there was no garnl tee of cost share payment. that changed, i believe, and the cost share arrangement was waved the power p utilities had reengaged but by that time prepa had reached out and engaged with a contract and there's how that
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arrangement was started. that's what i've been told through multiplena sources but obviously don'tng have any authority -- >> w i understand. again, i'm not asking what they did or why they made the decision. mr. long, is that what you were told as well? >> general jackson is correct and i agree with him, many companies are not willing to engage unless there's a guarantee ofpp 100%. the bottom line is i spoke with the governor yesterday, they are going to reengage the emack process for power support. i thinks specifically they're having conversations with the states of florida and new york and the goal is that my federal court officer mike byrne has kwld that prepa made sure we aro unified with the army corps so we're not working in separate stream bus together in a consolidated effort. >> we will follow up with your staff b because i have another question that's process issue, and that is at times fema can't get it done with contracts you're punting to the army corps of engineers and what i'd be interesting to know is the
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contract process, which takes longer, which is more efficient, which has greater cost. at times there is some overlam in between,n, who's got debris removal, at what level fema can handle it, at what level they need to be able to hand it off. that would be good for us to know because of federal l dollars involved there. >> can i answer the question? we do not typically contract to rebuild power grids. we missionon assign the army cos of engineers who handles the contracts directly to get the job done. the best-case scenario is the example of florida. flori florida power & light controls their destiny when it comes to restoring their power grid and activating federal aid and fema engages to to support those actions. >> my question won't be specifically on power but all contracting, debris removal or whatever. who handles that more efficiently and how does that work, which one takes longer.
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thank you, mr. chairman. >> senator icahn. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i have a few questions about the navy ship comfort. according to the department of defense, the "comfort" has one of the largest trauma facilities in the united states, isti equipped as well as any kind of floating hospital can be equipped. it is capable of treating 200 patients per day with 250 belds available. but yet we hear over and over again there are people going without medical treatment. despite that capability and the stamp of over 800 trained personnel, the "comfort" has treated only 100 patients 17 days after arriving in puerto rico on october 3rd. and 30 days after hurt capable maria made landfall. dr. kadlec how many patients
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have been treated on request the "comfort" so far you're familiar with and can you elaborate on the challenges we've had getting patients to the comfort? >> i think last count was 121 as a result of that. but, ma'am, before you make a judgment on that, let me just explain what was the approach using the comfort as it related to it high acuity capabilities. which you're correct in saying there are 200 beds, but more importantly there are 50 intensive care unit beds on thae boat. and that really was the capability we needed because quite frankly if you looked at the events on the island, we had a level one trauma center which was the east side of the island -- >> how many to have patients that were treated aboard the comfort were actually icu patients? >> high acuiacuity? if i recall correctly, over 60, but we used it as a floating intensive care unit primarily in the -- it's your judgment the
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considerate has beense fully utilized for need in puerto rico? >> whatt it did was cover a critical bed a that we had whic was based on the risk that hospitals would lutz power because thehe majority of them,n fact all of them were on generator for a period of time, now we have 70% back on the he grid, but for time being when the hospitals werere on generats and the risk of failure before we could put the backup backup generators, we used the comfort as a place where we could take highhi aukai ti patients, transport them by helicopter, by rotary wing -- >> i get all that. but i think anybody who looks at this and maybe it's just the news, and we'll turn to you, administratorr long, who look, t the news and says, look, theres this huge medical need, people i going without treatment, people at risk of losing their life, we have this incredible asset, this is an island, it's not like, you know, the united states of america where you might have something 3,000 miles away.
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why does it seem to be to me underme utiliutilized? >> i per steve question. i understand the frustrations to have questions. the goal is always anytime you move medically fragile people, patients out of a hospital, you take a risk at them surviving begin with, so the goal is to stabilize the situation in the hospitals. and there was a tremendous effort to do that. what we ran into was not only hospitals operating without power but make sure that the jenl ray or the actually worked, getting it fuel on a regular basis, and thenni maintenance o the jenl ray or the ongoing. these genere tors aren't designed to run for months. so what we did is reinitiated the comfort, and bob, you can probably take about the time line it. takes to d that, about an eight-day process to even turn the keys on, fuel the boatp get everybody stamped, mobilize and go to the aisland. it's a long process. but the bottom line is we basically set up a 911 system
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sinlds it toe where in two or three cases a hospital generator would fail, we would move the most meld capitol hill fragile patients via helicopter from the hospital to the comfort. i would argue it was being ute litzed very well and again, the goal is, you know, try to get the hospitals to operate. we're always going to be second-guessed on everything but try to get the hospitals to operate and serve patient where is they are. >> administrator long, i know senator teser hit on this, but one of the concerns that i have given what now has landed on your plate is that all of our talk about mitigation, all of our talk about preparedness will take a back seat to just dealing with theri disast thaers you've been handed. n we all though based on experiences with katrina, with sandy, this is not, you know, we're here for a monthng and th we leave. what are you going to do or what recommendations would you make to us in? terms of staffing so that you have the capability of
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actually looking at mitigation and not just dealing with the crisis? >> sure. you know, i of been concerned about that because, you know, my staff the coordination through the federal departments, i mean, tens of thousands of people have been deployed. i mean, if you look at the actual number that's been deployed starting with harvey it's been uns predenltsed, and yoch to say that, and unfortunately i do feel like we're losing a lot of the successes that have been implementedlo as a result of th post katrina emergency management reform act. a lot of things went right. a lot of things went right. so that we don't lutz puerto rico, i plan to do an after-action report to make sure that we understand where we are versus where we need to be specifically chen it comes not only to prv pr but island territories. i want to hit the reset button in regards to staffs specifically, eventually i would like to change the entire hiring process off the federal emergeny
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management agency to adopt a more fbi academy style approach. i would like to expand my stampv out of those regional offices to the states and islands and make sure we're part of that discussion every day. >> you received an incredible amount of bipartisan support in part because we understood what role youou played in the look-bk on katrina. we home you will be equally critical of thehe work you've doin' as administrator. >> sure. >> but also collaborate with us in terms of what you need. i think senator tester said it best. you can't look atat this and understand this continues and think that wein don't have a hu challenge where we needd to loo at all w hands on deck, what ar the requirements that we want to impose on states so that they understand what their role is going to be so they're not overly dependent on the federal government but that this work is seamless. and so i look forward to additional conversations with you and to understanding what you need. but we can't give you what you need if you dent ask.
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>> and we would be happy to put that ask together. and if i may, each citizen is responsible for their own individual preparedness. we do not have a true culture of preparedness in this country and we need to hit the reset button and look at how we partner with department of education and give people critical skills. gail mcgovern with the red cross said 1 in 4 of us is going to have to perform cpr to someone else at any given time. are we giving people those boy scout-type skills as well as, you know, tangible things to understand that they may be the true first responder for an active shooter event or if they're your neighbor's house is collapsed upon them. many times citizens are the first true responder and we have to start dedicating our public awareness and cultural preparedness campaigns to doing that as well as figuring out -- >> ie couldn't agree with you more. thank you so much for all your hard work and all of you working
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under very difficultlt circumstances. we hope congress sb cornerback an effective place for you. >> that state by state, territory by territory assessment, who has prepared themselves, what is the current state: so we can determine something? we'll definitely follow that um with a hearing. >> grand forks flood was devastating event. we pull our state disaster plan off, pulled the dust to off of it andal realized we needed to take that more seriously. nothing like a state disaster the caliber of this to realoon all ofrk our thinking. >> we'll work with you on that. senator. >> thank you very much, mr. chair, and thank you all to the witnesses for being here today and for the work you do on behalf of our country. we are very, very grateful. i've got three basic questions and so i'm going to try to move through them quick so we can ge to all of them.
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administrator long, i want to thank you for being here today and alsoca for briefing several senators on a call on september 28th in which you updated us on the u.s. government's relief efforts in puerto rico. on this call you said that the airports and seaports were all heavenly damage preponderance of the evidence you also added that the road networks were in in many caseses impassable and tha you lacked trucks and personnel to be ablee to foichly distribue the ample relief supplies you had pating on pallets. so when did fema and the department of defense first make the assess thamt the damage to the airports and seaports would encumber the delivery of the relief supplies? >> almost immediately. and that was the lo jisz cal complexity of being able to puts forward the humanitarian mission. all of those ports were damaged but it wasn't just the ports, it was the air traffic control systems that also guide those in. >> so it was almost immediately. so when did you make the determination you would need the full capabilities of the united states military to be able to
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distribute resources based on that assessment and when did you first ask the department of defense for there type of asset that were eventually provided for the relief response? >> sure, and if i may, i may defernd here, but let me be cler we engaged the department of dfls before maria hit, and so there were a ton of assets on the island before the storm hit. but you can only put so many people and equipment on anl island or you expose it to the storm and itnc becomes useless after the fact. soite it's a balancing game, but if i may -- >> sure. go ahead. >> might have been -- >> right. as you may recall -- >> make sure your microphone is on, please. >> there it is. sorry. hurricane irma came through first. as you know it hit st. thomas and st. john's and did a lot of damage. we had d.o.d. atsz ets in the area. >> i'm going to interrupt for a second becauseli on the april 2h call with fema and other
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agencies the d.o.d. remit tich stated the u.s. northern command was working on a plan to mobilize an additional sustainment force too puerto rico.re that's eight days after the hurricane hit. additionally, according to fema's website, on october 1st, u.s. northern commanddi deliver approximately 310,000 memes, 150,000 n leeters of water, generators, tarps, additional sustainment unitsrt and leading components of aviation command and control. given that it was apparent from fema and d.o. daismt saysment both the airports and say importants of puerto rico were heavenly damaged and this would cause ips immense distribution challenges, why did it take until october 1st to deliver aviation command and control to the island and why on september 28th was the u.s. northern command still working to finalize it plans to deliver sustainment force and whenav di the sustainment force arrive? >> so, ma'am, to answer that question, again, there's concurrent activity always in
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these events.ap as i indicated we had navy shichs in the area, the oak him, they had helicopters, they were doing search-and-rescue capabilities. simultaneously u.s. transcom, which is responsible for strategic air lift and providing krshgts-17st and c-5s was flying in assessment teams for airfields as the administrator pointed out, a number of those airfields had severe damage, no navigationon aids, no radars, those kinds of things. that equipment had to be put in place. all of this was happening well before the 28th, ma'am. i don't know where the impression -- >> the impression came from the questions we asked on a conference call on september 28th. >> -- the capability -- >> so what i would ask is a follow-up. we'll of course have these li letters to you directly, some real specifics here because i think all of us were concerned that eight days after the hurricane hit it seemed like we were still having to suggest in that calll that the united stats military was going to be necessary to hem get some
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supplies districted because of the impasse kt of transportation infrastructure. i do just because i have a couple of minutes left want to move on to one other question to administrator long. last week pro publica poapsted a story that stated fema was declining to publicly release a document drafted several years ago that detailed how fema would respond to a major hurricane in puerto rico. publica fema ro started drafting the plans known as the hurricane annex after the lack of preparation in the wake of hurricane katrina. pro publica also found similar plans posted on d.o.d.'s website for hawaii, which detailed an 58-step process to restore electricity onyo hawaii in the event of a hurricanhurricane. so why is fema not releasing this document to the public, h d could you please commit to making it public? and if not, will you apologize
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articulate what was inte the hurricane annex and what steps you followed in the aftermath of hurricane irma? >> sure, senator. we gave it to the committee last night apparently, i was just breeched. >> okay. >> but i was unaware of the issue. be happy to follow up with you directly. >> thank you very much. in that case, i will also before yielding back the remainder of my time let you all know that -- well, actually we have a minute, so instead of giving this to the record, i did want to touch on the u.s. virgin islands and where we are in terms of power restoration and tourism because perhaps even more so than puerto rico the uls virgin islands economy fundamentally depends on the ability of the islands to host tourists from all over the world. thee virgin islands suffered a direct hiteg not from not only hurricane maria but hurricane irma as well. these storms knocked out the power across these islands and the islands cannot expect to begin to re-establish its tourism economy without the restoration of power to say the
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at rleast. yet at more than a month the u.s. virgin islands report less than a third of the territories have power up and running. so what steps are fema and d.o.d. taking to restore full power to the u.s. virgin islands and what is fema's current estimate of when 100% of the islands will have power? >> so excellent point. you know, the virgin islands were hit equally as hard as pra ef puerto rico and the bottom line is they're basically in the same approach, but there's two different approaches being taken to restore the power as i understand it. so where we proactively push toward the army corps of engineers in puerto rico the r po power authority that represents the virgin islands is in control and conducting their oenl contracts and leading their power restoration. but if the last number i saw was that power should be restore ld by you know, december time frame as well, but here again, that's just an eps mat. >> okay. you again for your participation. i appreciate it very much.by
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and mr. chair, thank you. >> senator, let me just brief you what i know about that report you reference. the annex is jointly owned by fema and the state and puerto rico. it was not released because puerto rico did not give fema permission to share with theno media.up we got it as an official use only document, which we're happy to share with you, but until puerto rico agrees to release it, we can't release it to the general public. >> i would appreciate seeing it and i'll follow um with you further. >> senator danes. >> thank you, chairman johnson. thank you for testifying today. and administrator long it's good to see you again. i've got to tell you, folks out in eastern montana were very grateful with the fact that you listened to our pleas and we had some devastating wildfires that took out much of garfield count tip.
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i think sometimes we're seeing the criteria dealing with a rural environment which much of mt. m is, can be different from a disast they're hims one of our urban centers. i want to thank you for your responsiveness and your action and the focus out in eastern montana appreciate that a lot. we had a terrible wildfire season in montana this past summer. in fact, senator purdue listed the top wildfires in the nation as ranked by dollars spent to fight them. we spent over $2 billion fighting wildfires this season and still not over yet. but the number one fire in the nation was in montana. the number three fire in the nation was in montana, the rice ridge fire. just in terms of dollars. so it's one of those terrible seasons and, again, thank you, mr.ay long, for what you did in response to help us there in
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montana. much of the discussion here today han b has been on pri pri and the devastating hurricane and the loss of the grid. mr. long, i will tell you i was a bit surprised when i heard thf story of a small contractor of two people, most you've never heard of, including myself, being awarded a contract that was worth, what, $300 mm to rebuild puerto rico's power grid. in the contract the puerto rico electric power authority, h pre, claimed it met all the guidelines and regulation set fort by fema and that it had beenen reviewed also by fema. would you explain fema's involvement in the contract process -- >> sure. >> -- and how you monitor
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federal dollars before they're allocated? >> sure. so let me be clear, the whitefish contract was not a fema contract.wy prepa entered into this account ct in late september. we were notified several weeks after the fact. our lawyers -- there's no lawyer inside fema that would have ever agreed to the language that was in that contract to begin with, soor let me be very clear about that. and we raised the red flag and basically saying, you know, we're not sure this is a sole source contract or a competitive rate. there were many things wrong. there was also language in there suggest that the federal government would never audit whitefish, which there's not a lawyer inside fema that would ever agree to that time of language. so the bottom line is that as i understand not one dollar has gone towards that contract from fema and what we're doing is rectifying to make sure that prepa is not requested any reimbursement t effort. we have -- we have a lot of work
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to doo when it comes to grant monitoring at all levels of government. it's not just fema but it's at the sate and the local government when it comes to the guarantees that are there. we ask them to always follow bepreoc disaster bid laws and policies because when you change those policies after a disaster it's going to hang you up in an audit. wees ask them to follow emergen bid laws when it comes to the process at cfr. so we have a lot of work to do when it comes to training and ensuring the grand monitoring but in our case that was not our contract. >> thank you. isle be interested as you dig into that one for what the learnings are from that situation andnd how we can impre this process. it's always one of the concerns when we have a disaster, of course we want to move quickly. people are in need, people are dying. but we also want to make shurp we're accountable, efficient, and there's oftentimes opportunity for afo tremendous
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amount of waste in a situation throwing billions of dollars at some of theseto disasters, so il look forward to that follow-up what you learned from that, mr. long, and thank senator pet. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. long, one of my constituents volunteered through the afl/cio to provide assistance in puerto rico.re he was there from october 4th through the 18th. he certainly said the citizens remarked how grateful they were for the assistance that was being provided by his group because no one else seemed to bi there to help was at least his experience on the ground. i know a group of national nurses united had a similar experience and also made some of the same comments to me. so it seems to be a common perception that assistance wasn't reaching the people in need in puerto rico. that there were some distribution problems.
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that stuff may have gone to distribution centers but it wasn't getting actually out to the individuals. so my question is, why were we hearing that from volunteers and do you believe that was an issue? >> i can't speak to the gentlemen, sir, to the constituents direct experience, but i can explain the logistical complexities we face when it came to the humanitarian issues of getting meals and water out. as we were discussing earlier, all the ports were damaged. it tookto us time to not only rebuild the air traffic control system but open up the ports. we prestage quite a bit of food in our caribbean area division before the storm. you can only stamg ge so much o the island. we also checked with the governor and there school syste. they had a lot of food inside the shelters, multiple days of food in each one of the school shelters that were there. we tried to put as much food forward as possible before the storm hit. when it came to the diminished capacity, obviously the state andto local governments, they we
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disaster survivors. as we gone to push in the food to the island, we had to quickly mobilize 11 -- excuse me, ten regional distribution hubs where we would fly it in, set up and stage all the com mmodities and then force the food and water to each one of these distribution hubs. we had to establish communication with all 78 mayors because there was no survivable calms that werell there. we started communicating and sendi sending liaisonhe to mayors and get itno to them directly. if they couldn't get it to the final mile we would actually air drop drop it. there were airplane drops being made. they're continuing today. did we get to everybody? it's hard tod say. part of it was the lack of communications and theer abilit that we recognize that people weren't sure where to go. in some cases what i saw with my own eyes, i went to the central
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portion mountainous region where some of the folks in the isolated communities are being resilient and not choosing to come to the areas where food and water is. the bottom line is i knowve thi is onees of the -- i feel certa that this is probably one of the largest humanitarian missions we've ever conducted in the united states and there areio ts of millions of meals and water that were pushed. there is aod lot of assets on there. w i've also asked the office of inspector general to look into how ourin commodities were bein used by some of the mayors. it's my knowing the fbi may be looking at that as well. >> i appreciate your candor. ifo know this was incredibly difficult task that you were involved in and continue to be involved in probably for quite some time. i appreciate your efforts on that. you've been very candid in this hearing today and that's refreshing to have that kind of candor because the ideas that we have toyo learn, celebrate whate did right and learn from our
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mistakes to be ready for the future. bute what would you -- be your assessment in puerto rico on a scale of one to ten in your to fema's city as ability to meet the disaster? >> well, i think we have a lot of work to do. one of the first things i want to do is come back and have an after action. i want to figuresmal out the gr funding that went to puerto rico. what did we get in terms of that? are the commodity capabilities on the island are obviously too small. how do we set up urisland territories to be more self-sufficient. there are a whole host of improvements that need to be made and i recognize that and i'll be dedicated to making sure that we find out and doing an exhaustive after action. if there are issues where i need support, i'll be coming back to you to ask for that support to change the way that we do future. in the trust me, i do not want to go through this event again. >> right.
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>> as much as anybody else. >>. >> i asked one too ten. that may be tough for you to do. perhaps for the average puerto rican, how will they rate the federal government's response? you're been on the ground an awful lot. i appreciate that. from one to ten, what do you think they would say? >> with all due respect, obviously people have different experiences. i'm notra interested in giving myself ath grade or rating each other. quite honestly, that would be the only thing the media picked up today about this congressional hearing if that's the case. could we have done better? did we c move as fast as people want? obviously in somelo cases no. butiv if you look at in the "mii herald", the state department representative, read his assessment and go talk to the mayors. go talk too the 78 mayors and gt your assessment from them. for me togo sit back and say we did things perfectly, i know we didn't. of course there's things that i wish had gone better or things that i had known going into that
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event obviously. but the bottom line is that i know at the end of the day we pushed as hard as we could. our partners pushed as hard as week. we moved asst fast as the situation allowed. this is one of the most altho h logistically situation we've faced. >> this leads into the second question i have. midland county michigan experienced from catastrophic flooding this summer, one of the long issues you had that were on your plate this year. i heard from county administrators, emergency responders that they were very appreciative of the work that fema- did to help them in responding to that flooding. but that said, they also thought that fema could have done a much better job of coordinating with local officials o at the beginng of the response efforts. in our experience as you mentioned, up front coordinatioi with local authorities can go a
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long way toward facilitating that type of response. that's what i heard from my folks inor michigan. although, again, being supportive of your efforts, but thinking that was a lack in fema's efforts was the local coordination with local officials. what do you think we should be doing to better that type of cooperative effort? >> personally i would like to expand our footprint. i would like to change our footprint and graduate beyond the regional offices. i would like to develop what we call statest integration teams that are multi-facetted that are there working with the state every day and being ail to drive outt to your local counties and doing things such o as improvin mitigation plans, having had to t to come all the way back through the tregion.n i would like to change the work force. make our reserves more in line with what the national guard approach is so that you can have a full-time job, step away from your job to go support fema in a disaster without losing that
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daytime job. i would like to change our entire work force program to be more like an fbi model. we're the only public safety agency in the country that doesn't have a true academy style model of hiring and graduatinggh people through our system, so we're training everybody to be the nextan fedel coordinating officer that understands all aspects of this program. i'm frustrated by our hiring k processes. i would like too rewrite the bok on how we do that and how we maintaine and utilize disaster reservists who are important to our mission. >> those are all really good thoughts. i look forward to working with you on those issues going ns forward. you, mr. long. >> senator peters, one of the concerns i have, just listening to some of the dialogue, is i don't want to see fema be the primary responder here. i believe the role is to support state and local governments toch. to support them. the more we expect out of fema, first of all, we're going so-to-spread them thinner.
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then we have a one size fits all model and the federal government will have to decide do all the assetsts have to be deployed ahd of time.d state and local governments need to understand that. they need to understand the risksfe and be held responsibles well. wed need to be very careful ase go down this road and say how come fema didn't do the job perfectly and listen to people's complaints. they didn'tto coordinate as wel as we liked. fema's role is to help. so i think that's incredibly important. i've only got one other point i want to make. it was interesting in talking to you, mr. long. we have so much food stuff and water to a certain extent down in puerto rico. you point out the fact that the private sector is now asking you we needo. to reestablish ourselves. if our population is going to rely on fema and the federal government to provide meals, we're not going to have the private sector firing back up and have grocery stores operating properly. can you kind of talk about
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what -- >> you're absolute right. the goal is always to get the retail industry back upi and running. the last number i saw was roughly 90%. obviously as b the retail indusy comes up, we should be drawing down ond the commodity mission. in many cases the mayors have asked us to stop the flow of food but continue the water issues until a the water systems fully back online. and so it's a constant communication battle every day -- not battle. it's just constant communication every day with the may aors to understand what the need is.pr but as we go forward i do think we have to form tighter bonds with theth private sector and understand the modelling to see this not only in puerto rico bul in california or florida or texas to say here's where the market is, here's where the gas stations are cominghe back onli so that we can taylor the response day in and day out. >> i think your name describes what your function is.
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federal emergency management agency. it's not federal recovery. it's not long-term recovery. there's going to be other federal agencies but hopefully more state andns local governmes that are going to take up the responsibility of recovering in their local jurisdictions am with that senator carper. >> following what the chairman was saying. the lastl 100 years, 33 categor 5an hurricanes. this fall, two within a matter of weeks of one another. we've seen this very interesting chart that the chairman has -- veryrm instructive chart that t chairman has shown that indicates what's happening in terms of frequencies of this kind of crazy weather that we're faced with. and i would just -- this is a shared responsibility. but i would feel that we had failed in our responsibility, collectively, if we simply
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rebuild the -- help rebill an electric grid in puerto rico that is just as vulnerable, that is just as energy inefficient and that is just as polluting as what they largely have faced in past decades. i think we really have missed an opportunity. my colleague senator peters asked you, mr. long, to evaluator maybe provide a grade of some sort to the work of fema so far. we have a saying in delaware, we're a little state, but a little fighter fighting a big fight wins. the little fighter fights above his or her weight. i think fema is punching above its weight. we applaud that. i think the grade to be assigned is probably incomplete because there's plenty of work still to do. i think you know that. richard nixon -- i'm the only
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democrat i know that quotes richard t nixon, but nixon usedo say the only people that don't make mistakes are people that don't do anything. tom carper says everything i do i know i can do better and if it isn't perfect, make it better. perfection is not achievable, but we certainly want to head in that direction regardless of whether we sit on this side or yourth side. senator peters also talked about soft of the interaction, interface between state and local folks and fema. i would have one short question for you. there's been some feedback that there's been a disconnect between the government of puerto rico, the fema, the army corp of engineers, versei contractors thewh ground regards roles, and responsibilities. i don't think that's to be totally surprising. what are you doing to ensure that a cohesive effort that supports the governor of puerto rico was ultimately in charge of
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recovery efforts? will you just respond to that? >> sure. it's a tne great question. clear communication is the line, is what's needed to succeed. i speak to governor multiple times a week on a regular basis s. b . but what we do to have management capability over the magnitude of everything that's happened is i have to rely very heavily on federal coordinating officers and for the example of puerto rico mike burn is my federalpo coordinating officer. technically he's appointed by the president if you look at the stafford act. so i have federal coordinating officers over each one of these disasters thator i stay in touc with, but i also reach out regularly to the governor and i've got to tell you, every day that manan goes to work trying do the best that he can for puerto rico and i have deep respect for the governor in what he's trying to do and work through. he's facing the most complex disaster of many of them. and so the communication is good.
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but i have to set up recovery command on sitehe and allow the decisions to be made on site rather than all the way back up here in d.c. instant command decisions have to be made closest to where the disaster is, not up here. >> sometimes what i see adult children of my friends who have gone on to do great friends with their life i say they pick their right patients. i would say to the governor now that he picked the right parents. my old colleague with whom i served why '93 to 2001 is governor. i want to ask one question for each of you. and then i'm done. the question is this. just name one thing that folks on my side of the aisle, those with whom we serve in the senate and the house, one thing we need to be doing toen able you and your folks to do a better job. one thing. if i can with mr. -- are you an
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air force academy graduate? >> yes, sir, i. >> good for you. thank you for your service. >> thank you,s sir. i think one of the issues that came up was about streamlining processes in activities for the health care we talk about minutes and hours really depending life and death decision and being able to intervene positively. i think one of the areas that congress should lookec at is dependencies. dependencies affect all the activities here. what makes it more streamline. whatmake makes it more efficien. what makes it most importantly effective. and those are the areas that i would identify as most important. >> thanks. general jackson? >> senator, thanks for the question. since we'veve spoken mostly abo theo power grid restoration, i think that's where my comment would come from and that is i think if congress can decide what instate looks like. there's multiple requirements out there, multiple things that could be done.he
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what does instate look like and what does the nation want us to do? whether it's what the corp is doing or what whoever will do in terms of what the power generation will look like, what the transmission lines and such will look like. able to craft what instate looks like with the resources to match would be my recommendation. >> good. thanks so much. >> senator, thanks for the question. i'd say continue to support the menn and women in uniform. specifically the department of defense did enormous work in all of these hurricanes. as you know, the number of navy ships, the strategic airlift that was involved, the navy air force and marine corp. the defense department has evolved and have responsibilities to support civil authorities and that needs to continue because it makes all the difference to our citizens. >> when i'm talking about folks from the different armed services other than the navy, sometimes i'll -- there's friendly innerservice rivalries,
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not just on the football field. i would say to them at the end of the conversation, different uniforms, same team. administrator long.mm >> for the country, i think survivable communications. we become more and more vulnerable every day as we go to digital networks. when you don't have redundant systems or mitigated systems designed too handle all hazards then it creates hazards. we just went through a complete andd technology communication blackout for an island it. creates a lot of misunderstanding and a lot of misinformation. that was incredibly frustrating. we have a lot of work to do for survival qualms. internally, do more predisaster mitigation and let's come back to thee drawing board on the disaster, on the drf, the disaster relief fund. >> thanks so all of you and the teams you lead. thanks so much. >> thank you.
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>> thank you. so my final comment, i appreciate my colleagues like thisse chart. there's a number of factors that are built into the dramatic increase in the fema declarations. one of them is we declare mar disaster as a fema disaster. my concern is that i won't say the word abdi indication, but certainly local and state authorities are happygr to have the federal government spend their money and be responsible for a greater share of these things that occur within their state. that's part of thek factor. but again, i want to thank all of you. i thinknk your efforts have bee extraordinary. i would give you a pretty high grade personally. again, this is unprecedented what has p happened here. you get 51 inches in anyplace, there's no way to plan for that. that's going to create a lot of destruction. you get category 5 hurricanes going over an entire island, even one inse the caribbean tha is j used to hurricanes. that's going to cause disaster.
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you just don't snap your fingers andew alleviate all pain and suffering. i think you've done an extraordinary job and i thank all of them and all of you this will remain open until 5:00 p.m. forti statements of the record. this hearing is adjourned.
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. >> when you say they're focused on the judicial nominations first to go to the floor, can you give an estimate as to if you're talking about an epa nominations to be pushed back to next month or to the beginning of next year? >> rather than tell you something i'm not sure of, let me just -- >> go ahead. please feel free to tell me.
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thanks, senator. >> senator. >> normally i only take one question. i'm just kidding. i was wondering what you thought [inaudible]
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you have to arrange for transportation thac transportation. that takes time. flowing today and should be in puerto rico by the weekend.here and then there's the issue of material. you have to have material. they didn't have the material that they needed. we've gone through the defense logistics and awarded over $150 million in contracts to bring 60,000 polls of different type. galvanized steel, concrete, wood. over 6,100 miles of capable. that puerto rico power authority didn't have but is essential to getting the grid restoration.
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>>. [inaudible] >> if the mutual assistance grae gra agreements have been invoked they wouldn't come to us. we didn't power grid res -- we became -- we stepped up to do something that we don't normally do because there was a need thereis does & askto do it and do it. so there's just a lot of work that's -- if you take a look at just, for instance, by comparison, the u.s. virgin islands did mutual assistance n. 50 days they had 533 linemen in the virgin islands. the corp of engineers through our contracting mechanisms, by the time we hit the 50 day mark we'll have 640 linemen on the
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weekend to include what we've already been doing c with temporary power. so i think if you compare island nation versuss island nation, mutual assistance versus core contract, we're not that far off. i'm not sure what the expectation is. >> for example, your commander said they may have maybe 50% by the end of the year. the governor wants 95%. there is loobviously a differen of goals regarding the establishment. >>twtw there's a different betw goals and reality. we support the governor's goals. we want tois restore power as ft as possible. the reality is we can't restore 95% of the grid by the 15th of december. it's not possible.ev his number one goal was 30% by the end of october and that's been achieved. largelyth because of the great work that preppa has been doing with some input with the corp of
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engineers. his next goal was 50% by the end of november. the administration has given the corp of engineers that as an objective, as a goal. we're going to do everything we can to getut to that. i think it's possible, but i don't know until we get enough people online to be able to understand if we can actually achieve that goal.s or not. by comparison, in the u.s. virgin islands that was hit on the 6th of september, they believe they won't have 90% until september. a full 45 days longer than what we have in puerto rico. puerto rico is extensively larger. we want to support the governor. i think the governor has come on roef record and said that 15 december was probably unrealistic. we agree with. that we'reor committed in the ay corp to work with preppa.
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they work for the governor. we all work for the governor. we're committed to supporting him and we're moving as fast as we can using the contract tools that we have available to us and we're looking at every option we can to increase those so we can quicken the timeline for deployment and increase the capacity of the numbers to get folks out w on those lines. >> what kind of delays will be caused by revoking the contract of whitefish? >> i don't know that there will be any delays to anything i'm responsible for. i think whatll we're trying to figure out now is how do we super impose the mutual assistance agreements over top of the work that preppa would have done beyond the task orders that they've already been issued to do the work that they're on right now.is what they're predominantly working on is the north/south transmission lines that bring the power into san juan which is one of the most critical
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arteries for high voltage power from the southern part of the island to the northern part of the island where the people are. we're going to figure out a way. we're working to figure out -- to make sure that there's no reduction in capability, but we've got other details yet to work out to figure out how do we bring in additional capability under ther contracts that we have. or other contracts to be able to offset the loss of capabilities. >> do you think that there's a need of one person in charge of everything? because what i've been listening from companies and even governmental organization is that they're totally different person deciding what to do. preppa, now maybe the oversight board, the corp of engineers. >> we all have our own goals and responsibilities. the governor of puerto rico is
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in charge. okay? the corp of engineers is a forced provider. the department of engineer atovides technical assistance to preppa to allow us to make sure that we arere meeting the requirements that the commonwealth has as prioritized by the governor. fema is the overall umbrella that makes sure that we stay within the authorities that we have to do the work that's needed to be done in puerto rico. so the governor is in charge. and we are there as part of fema's team in support of him. there's no concerns over the chain of command. >> qualify one thing you said earlier. does that meanth if they had activated the mutual agreements, the federal government would not have to be the one bringing in the poles and i wires and all o that? i want to make sure i understood that. >> if thein governor of puerto rico had activated mutual assistance agreement, we would
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being doing not guilty -- nothi >> so it's costing the government -- >> don't put words in my mouth. i'm just telling you the options that were there and the zegs decisions that were made. >> any of the costs at least until this moment general -- >> i'm sorry, say again. >> the cost of the process, do you have any idea how much has been spent or has been contracted at this moment? because i know that you didn't want to specify how much it would costmo at the end. but any ballpark number that we can -- >> my mission assignment that fema has given me is $577 million and that's the only authority int have. we've rewarded a number of contracts. they have not exceeded that. should we determine with fema that there's a need to increase, that we will go through the right process and go through the
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pri right approvals. we are folks out onlines assessing what damages. we'll find ins, some cases the damage wasn't as bad as we thought it was. in other cases we'll probably fine the damage is worse than we thought it was. until we have all those assessments done we won't have a rel clear picture to answer the question you asked. >> the 50% by the end of the november, you said that was the administration. are you talking about the governor's goal. >> h the governor made the goal. the governor stated he want the to haveio 30% done by the end o october. and the administration has agreed to 30% by today which we've made and 50% by the end of november as a goal which we're striving for. nothing more. >> which is not people. it's power generation. >> current load on the system gainst the base load that existed before the storm. thank you, guys.
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this weekend on american history tv on cspan3, saturday we're live at 9:30 a.m. eastern at the national world war i museum and memorial in kansas city missouri for a symposium parking the u.s. entry into the war in 1917. then at 8:00 p.m. on lectures in history, a look at releigion an the american revolution. >> at the end of the war, 1783, the establishment of civil and religious liberty was the motive which induced me to the feel of battle. why did i fight? not merely for civil liberty. not merely so that i didn't have to pay three pens on the pound for tea. i thought for principle and i
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thought for religious liberty. >> at 10:00 p.m. on real america, the road to the wall. an academy award nominated film about the soviet union and the berlin wall. >> we declare openly that our ends can only be attained by the force of an overthrow of all existing social conditions. thus the road begins. >> and sunday at 6:00 p.m. on american artifacts, see the exhibit for chief justice john marshall at the national constitution center in philadelphia. >> we have the actual nomination from john adams of marshall. so this is the official nomination when he is sending to the senate john marshall's name to be chief justice of the united states, one of the great moments in john marshall's career and one of the great moments for our nation. >> american history tv. all weekend every weekend. only on cspan3.
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this weekend cspan cities tour takes you to sioux falls south dakota. we'll highlight the history and literary life of sioux falls. saturday at 6:00 p.m. eastern, a look at the history of native american citizenship in the u.s. indians, indian tribes and the constitution. >> tribes have what is known as sovereignty. they have the authority from their preconstitutional existence as self-governing sovereigns. that's the position that tribes take, that they are self-governing sovereigns within their territory. >> and author of the book "outlaw dakota" about judge shannon and frontier justice. >> if you were caught stealing a horse, for example if you were particularly away from any settlement out in ranch country, they would hang you. so that happened quite frequently.
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that was what you call frontier justice or rough justice. >> on sunday at 2:00 p.m. eastern, we'll tour fort dakota. >> the fort at sioux falls was called fort dakota was really one of many forts established throughout the region and it was really i think established to provide a sense of safety and security for those settlers here. >> we'll also take a driving tour of sioux falls. >> we are on one of the main thoroughfares of sioux falls, south dakota. phillips avenue named for one of the first settlers of dakota territory. >> watch cspan cities tour of sioux falls south dakota saturday at 6:00 p.m. eastern on cspan2's book tv. and sunday at 2:00 p.m. on american history tv on

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