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Schumer comments on wait for federal disaster declaration

While parts of central and northern New York continue to rebuild following last month's massive flooding, Sen. Charles Schumer says there may be a reason the region is still waiting for federal disaster aid approval.

Yesterday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he was not overly optimistic that Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, Funds will come through. Schumer said the amount of damage in the state is still being tallied.

“Fema and… the state agency are still counting and we will see the results. Obviously, this is an objective standard that is done by the number of homes damaged, seriously damaged in each region, based on the total number of homes in each region. And we’ll have to see what the results are, but there are no results yet,” said the senator.

During a conference call with reporters, Schumer also discussed a plan to secure funding for the more than 200 stream gauges currently installed throughout New York. The senator is also requesting more stream gauges be installed in the state.

Stream gauges measure river levels and discharges, which can then be used to determine if -- and when -- floodwaters may crest. But because of what Schumer calls underfunding, he says some of the devices are at risk of being shut off every year. Schumer said storms that have hit New York in recent years prove these devices are needed.

“As we learned from Irene and lee and sandy and the recent flooding in the Mohawk Valley, the Southern Tier, the Hudson Valley, and parts of western New York, we can’t short change programs that our communities rely on to keep their citizens safe and well-informed,” he said.

Schumer says he will pursue a $7.3 million dollar increase for the monitoring program in the 2014 federal budget.