Gov. Perry says Obama ignoring Texas wildfires
Texas Governor Rick Perry on Thursday blasted the Obama administration for not responding to an April 16 request for a disaster declaration for the parched Lone Star State, where wildfires have scorched nearly 2 million acres this year.The Obama administration has a screw Texas attitude and the lack of a wildfire declaration is consistent with that policy. Texas voters will remember and there are still some Texas Democrats we can still vote against.
"You have to ask, 'Why are you taking care of Alabama and other states?' I know our letter didn't get lost in the mail," Perry, a Republican and frequent critic of the federal government, told reporters after addressing the Texas Emergency Management Conference in San Antonio.
The White House said on Thursday that President Barack Obama will make a visit on Friday to Alabama, where storms -- including a tornado that ravaged Tuscaloosa on Wednesday -- have left about 200 dead this week.
Obama declared a state of emergency for Alabama and ordered federal aid.
"There is a point in time where you say, 'Hey, what's going on here?,'" Perry said.
Perry had requested a federal declaration of emergency for Texas as the wildfires began to rage across the entire state. The request has not been answered, although several federal agencies, including the National Park Service, are supplying firefighters to help the state's effort.
"They watch TV, they know what's going on here, they can recognize that there is going to be a request for assistance, a request for help," Perry said.
Two volunteer firefighters have died battling the Texas wildfires, which have destroyed more than 900 buildings or structures.
A federal major disaster declaration could reimburse Texas and local governments 75 percent of the cost of their response. Local departments and the Texas Forest Service have spent more than $60 million since September 1 responding to wildfires, forest service spokeswoman Linda Moon said.