Western Governors request federal agencies support rural counties, municipalities in response to COVID-19

Western Governors have requested federal agencies offer coordinated support for western rural counties and municipalities to aid their response to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

The outreach to Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, and Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Pete T. Gaynor notes that rural communities are working to establish local emergency operation centers, but "face challenges with limited staff capacity."

"One of the most significant resources you have is the thousands of federal civil servants with relevant experience to assist with emergency response," notes the letter of April 1, 2020 signed by WGA Chair North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum and Vice Chair Oregon Gov. Kate Brown.

"The U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management have thousands of staff who are Incident Command System qualified and have experience rapidly responding to forest fires, mobilizing critical resources, and managing information flow in times of crisis.  Likewise, Federal Emergency Management Agency personnel are fully qualified to support local communities."

The Governors, in addition to seeking support, pledged to work closely with their federal partners.

"Western Governors encourage you to support efforts to deploy your resources to assist rural communities and identify and address any regulatory impediments that could hinder their cooperation with local government officials.  If there are statutory barriers preventing federal engagement ... we would be interested in discussing potential remedies with our congressional delegations."

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