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FEMA to consult tribes about new disaster declaration process





The Federal Emergency Management Agency is consulting tribes about a disaster declaration process that will recognize their sovereignty.

In January, President Barack Obama signed into law a bill that allows tribes to request disaster declarations from the federal government. Previously, tribes had to go through their state governments.

FEMA is now asking tribes about the best way to implement the new provisions of the Stafford Act. A conference call on Tuesday will start the process, which will also include meetings with tribal leaders.

"FEMA plans to establish a pilot program for managing requests from Indian tribal governments; during development of this pilot program, FEMA will engage in a comprehensive consultation effort with Indian tribal governments," a notice that was published in the Federal Register on Friday states. Materials can be found at www.fema.gov/tribal-consultation.

Obama has issued two tribal disaster declarations since January. The first was for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and the second was for the Navajo Nation.

Get the Story:
FEMA Consults Tribes and their Leadership on the Disaster Declaration Process (FEMA 3/11)

Federal Register Notice:
Solicitation for Comments Regarding Current Procedures To Request Emergency and Major Disaster Declarations (March 8, 2013)

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Tribes hail passage of bill with disaster declaration provision (02/01)
Congress passes bill with tribal disaster declaration section (1/29)