Newsroom

Senators Murray and Cantwell wrote to President Biden urging him to quickly approve federal emergency disaster declaration to address wildfire destruction in Whitman County that destroyed community of Malden, other areas in Eastern Washington; multiple requests from Governor Inslee were ignored by Trump Administration

ICYMI: Washington State Lawmakers Continue to Seek Major Disaster Declaration after Devastating Wildfires – MORE HERE 

Spokesman-Review: Trump is blocking aid to Malden, Pine City fire victims over beef with Inslee – MORE HERE

Murray and Cantwell: “Most of Malden’s 300-some residents are under- or uninsured and are also grappling with the strenuous economic burdens of the COVID-19 pandemic. These residents cannot wait any longer”

WASHINGTON DC – Today, U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA), sent a letter to newly inaugurated President Joe Biden asking him to approve Governor Jay Inslee’s request for a statewide federal emergency disaster declaration in response to this year’s devastating wildfires. The Governor’s request includes Individual and Public Assistance for eligible communities across Eastern Washington, including the town of Malden, where wildfires destroyed 80% of homes and businesses leaving most of its residents unable to return. While the Trump Administration granted similar requests to other Western states ravaged by wildfires this year, such as Oregon and California, thousands of Washingtonians who were forced to evacuate remain without aid after the Trump Administration refused to act on Governor Inslee’s requests, even after multiple overtures from Washington state’s entire congressional delegation.

“These wildfires forced the evacuations of thousands of people, threatened 3,000 homes and structures, and deteriorated air quality to hazardous levels. The town of Malden, a small, rural community in Whitman County, was devastated by wildfires, with 80% of its structures destroyed or seriously damaged. Most of Malden’s 300-some residents are under- or uninsured and are also grappling with the strenuous economic burdens of the COVID-19 pandemic. These residents cannot wait any longer,” The Senators wrote.

On December 8, Senator Murray led Washington state’s full congressional delegation in a letter to President Trump and FEMA Administrator Gaynor urging approval of Governor Inslee’s September request for a federal emergency disaster declaration to address wildfire destruction in Whitman County that destroyed the community of Malden and other areas in Eastern Washington. This followed letters, led by Senator Murray, from the entire Washington state congressional delegation first on September 17 and then again on October 13 in support of Governor Inslee’s multiple requests for a Major Disaster Declaration for the state of Washington and supplemental federal assistance.

Read the full letter below or HERE.

January 22, 2021

The Honorable Joseph R. Biden

President of the United States

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Northwest

Washington, DC  20500

 

Dear Mr. President:

 

Congratulations on your recent inauguration; we look forward to working with you these next four years. Today, we write to urge you to quickly approve Governor Jay Inslee’s September 16, 2020, and October 8, 2020 requests for a Major Disaster Declaration for the State of Washington and supplemental federal assistance.

Last year, Washington state experienced a historically destructive wildfire season on top of an already unprecedented year. For context, an estimated 626,982 acres burned throughout the state in the five day period from September 7th to the 11th. That area alone exceeded each of the total burned acreages in each of the fire seasons between 2002 and 2019, with the exception of 2015’s devastating wildfire season. These wildfires forced the evacuations of thousands of people, threatened 3,000 homes and structures, and deteriorated air quality to hazardous levels. The town of Malden, a small, rural community in Whitman County, was devastated by wildfires, with 80% of its structures destroyed or seriously damaged. Most of Malden’s 300-some residents are under- or uninsured and are also grappling with the strenuous economic burdens of the COVID-19 pandemic. These residents cannot wait any longer.

The Washington state delegation sent three letters of support to former President Trump urging expedient action on the governor’s request. Despite responding to several other disasters across the country that occurred after Washington’s wildfires, the Trump administration refused to make a determination and as a result, has held our constituents hostage for 128 days. This inaction by the former president and his administration is unconscionable and we look to you to right this wrong for our constituents.

We fully support Governor Inslee’s request for a Major Disaster Declaration statewide as well as Public Assistance and Individual Assistance for eligible counties. Thank you in advance for your prompt attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

###