WILKES-BARRE — President Donald J. Trump recently signed H.R. 302 into law, which included U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta’s Disaster Recovery Reform Act (DRRA).
Barletta said his bill is the largest reform to the U.S. disaster preparedness and recovery system since Hurricane Katrina and institutes pre-disaster mitigation practices that will help prevent future loss of life and address the rising costs of disasters throughout America.
“Pennsylvania is no stranger to the threats posed by natural disasters, having suffered many from Hurricane Lee and Tropical Storm Lee in 2011, to this year’s summer storms that caused flooding in 20 counties across the state,” Barletta, R-Hazleton, said. “Last year, 26.4 million Americans were affected by a disaster — that’s 8 percent of the U.S. population — and countless lives were lost.”
Barletta said with the Disaster Recovery Reform Act now law, “we can invest in making our communities safer and more resilient before disaster strikes.”
He said DRRA implements broad reforms at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) — in particular, the legislation increases the federal emphasis on pre-disaster planning and mitigation.
Barletta, who serves as chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management Subcommittee, has long been an advocate for investing in pre-disaster mitigation. Barletta explained that mitigation includes a wide variety of activities, such as elevating or moving structures prone to flooding, and hardening structures to mitigate effects of hurricanes or earthquakes.
Barletta’s bill also includes provisions ranging from ensuring that individuals with disabilities are able to repair or replace accessibility-related property to ensuring pets and other animals are taken care of during disasters.
Reach Bill O’Boyle at 570-991-6118 or on Twitter @TLBillOBoyle.