On February 27, 2015

Vermont Officials Outline Impacts of Department of Homeland Security Shutdown

WATERBURY – With continued uncertainty over whether or for how long Congress will approve funding for the Department of Homeland Security, Gov. Peter Shumlin and Vermont public safety officials today outlined impacts of a shutdown for Vermont. If funding is not approved by midnight tonight most divisions of the federal agency will suspend operations. While Congress is considering a short-term fix, the administration seeks a long-term solution given the importance of the Department.

“What Vermonters expect is for Congress to do its job,” said Gov. Shumlin. Noting that Vermont’s Congressional Delegation has worked hard to urge Congress to pass a longer-term funding bill, the Governor continued, “Homeland security is the last place where Congress should be playing partisan games. This has gone on long enough. It’s time for Congress to pass a long-term bill to fund this important department.”

Vermont Director of Emergency Management and Homeland Security, Joe Flynn has been in contact with officials from the Department of Homeland Security this week to determine what impacts a furlough of homeland security workers could have in Vermont.

Emergency planning, preparedness, response capabilities and day to day operations will NOT be affected at Vermont DEMHS.  Emergency Management Planning Grants for the operational functions of DEMHS and Homeland Security Grant Program funds have already been received by the State from DHS. A shutdown could impact some sub-recipient grant funding to Vermont cities and towns.  And programs such as the Assistance to Firefighter’s Grant (AFG) will likely be delayed. Many Vermont fire departments have benefited from AFG over the years.

Most visible impacts to Vermont would be a result of furloughs at FEMA. Vermont recently received a major disaster declaration for FEMA Public Assistance following a severe winter storm last December.  If employees are furloughed FEMA would not open a Joint Field Office in Vermont nor begin processing PA applications – delaying reimbursement for Vermont communities.

Approvals of local Hazard Mitigation Grant Program projects (those that receive 75% federal funding to help communities reduce public infrastructure damage in future disaster) would cease during the shutdown.  This will extend the wait times for dozens of HMGP projects – some dating back to Tropical Storm Irene in 2011.

In the event of a new disaster during a shutdown, Vermont has been told that FEMA’s State Liaison Officer will not be sent to assist in coordinating federal assets the state needs during and in the aftermath of a disaster event. And should Vermont experience a disaster event FEMA will not conduct Preliminary Damage Assessments (PDA). PDA’s are an official accounting of damage sustained in a disaster.  This assessment is used in determining if the state qualifies for federal disaster assistance. During a lapse in funding DHS/FEMA would acknowledge, but could not process a request from the Governor for a presidential declaration of a major disaster or emergency unless the request would be determined necessary for the protection of life and property.

When DHS funding is reinstated all grant and funding programs will resume, but lengthy queues and backlogs may likely be possible.


Scott Coriell, Governor’s Office: 802-353-1449

VT DEMHS: 800-347-0488

Do you want to submit feedback to the editor?

Send Us An Email!

Related Posts

Program to store carbon in forests grows in the Green Mountain State

June 19, 2024
By Cecilia Larson/Community News Service Editor’s note: The Community News Service is a program in which University of Vermont students work with professional editors to provide content for local news outlets at no cost. Forged by the American Forest Foundation and the Nature Conservancy, a program that pays people to set aside forest to store carbon…

Two prescription drug bills aim to lower pharmaceutical prices

June 19, 2024
Governor Scott signed both into law By Peter D’Auria/VTDigger New legislation signed by Gov. Phil Scott May 30 will help patients afford prescription drugs, as rising pharmaceutical prices push up health care costs across the state.  As legislators scrambled to wrap up the legislative session earlier this month, they passed two bills that aim to reform…

Gov. Scott announces $1.7m in transportation fund grants 

June 19, 2024
Three projects in Windsor County are among the 11 to receive awards  Governor Phil Scott and the Vermont Downtown Development Board announced Monday, June 17, the allocation of $1,787,989 in Downtown Transportation Fund grants to support projects to improve safety, access, and transportation in 11 Vermont downtowns and villages across seven counties. “Revitalizing our downtowns is important…

Money available to protect against future flooding, no cost to towns

June 19, 2024
On Monday, June 3, Governor Scott and Vermont Emergency Management announced $90 million of federal funding is now available to Vermont municipalities to implement hazard mitigation measures that reduce future flood risk. These funds are available to all Vermont towns with no local match requirement. The federal Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) provides funds to…