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West, Texas Approved For Major Disaster Relief Funding

Ryan Poppe
TPR News

The governor’s office has announced the town of West will receive major disaster funding following an appeal of FEMA’s original decision to deny the town federal relief.

Early this summer, the Federal Emergency Management Agency announced they would not be awarding the town of West major disaster relief following the massive fertilizer plant explosion that took out much of the area’s roads, schools and water system.

That original ruling has been reversed.

"We got notification from FEMA that the president had approved the state’s request for a major disaster declaration," said Josh Havens from the governor's office. "We did have to appeal a previous decision that denied it, but now the community of West is going to be eligible for some federal assistance that’s going help them re-build their community."

Havens said it’s too early to identify how much federal money will be awarded to the community of West.

"In the state’s appeal, we did identify over $35 million in cost that had been sustained by the community as a result of the blast," he said.

Havens said that going forward, FEMA will work with city and county leaders on funding various public works projects to rebuild infrastructure.

This week President Obama signed an executive order to increase oversight and safety at chemical plants like the one in West. The April explosion at the fertilizer plant killed 15 people and destroyed hundreds of area homes.