U.S. Senate Approves Amendment Regarding FEMA Funds

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, says her bipartisan amendment to allow homeowners, public utilities, and communities affected by natural disasters to make energy efficient upgrades with Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funds passed the Senate. Senator Gillibrand’s amendment, which was co-authored by Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA), passed as part of the Energy Policy Modernization Act.

Under current law, FEMA disaster assistance may only be used to replace damaged property with structures or equipment that are similar to the property that was destroyed. Rather than utilizing FEMA assistance to repair or replace damaged property with more modern, energy efficient models, disaster assistance recipients must opt instead for more antiquated, less efficient versions. Senator Gillibrand’s amendment changes the current law to allow FEMA disaster assistance recipients the option to use federal funds to replace damaged products or structures with more energy efficient models.

Senator Gillibrand’s provision is budget-neutral and does not require any additional federal spending. The Energy Policy Modernization Act will now be sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.