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Arkansas delegation seeks disaster declaration

WASHINGTON — The Arkansas delegation on Thursday threw its support behind Gov. Mike Beebe’s request for federal assistance to help seven Central Arkansas counties recover from severe December storms.

The delegation sent letters to President Obama and Craig Fugate, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, requesting a disaster declaration for Garland, Grant, Hot Spring, Lonoke, Perry, Pulaski and Saline counties.

Severe winter storms that began Christmas Day led to three deaths and left 260,000 households without power, according to the delegation.

Members of the delegation also requested that Arkansas be eligible for FEMA public assistance grants that would reimburse state and local governments for the cost of repairing or rebuilding damaged public infrastructure.

They asked that the state be eligible for Hazard Mitigation Assistance grants that are used to reduce disaster losses and protect against future disaster damages.

The letters were signed by Sens. John Boozman, R-Ark., and Mark Pryor, D-Ark., and Reps. Tom Cotton, R-Dardanelle, Rick Crawford, R-Jonesboro, Tim Griffin, R-Little Rock, and Steve Womack, R-Rogers.

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