Gang. We've got a serious problem that is not being reported. Bear in mind, this thread mostly is re:the one state I have info for in this matter. & that is #Montana. It is HIGHLY likely that most other states have this problem
#EOC #HAZMAT #DisasterPreparedness
Here we go. 1/24
Direct quote from the LEPC Yellowstone County May 10, 2018 minutes: "Regional
Haz-Mat Response Team in Billings used to rely on State and Federal funding but
this source has dried up. Keeping team together with local funding that may only
last two more years. ..." 2/24
"...May need to limit response area due to funding limitations.
Need legislation for increased funding."


What does that mean?
A bit of background here.
Local HAZMAT teams are there to provide immediate response to HAZMAT issues including but not limited to: train derailments, oil spills, pipeline bursts, opiod/meth den cleanups, refinery fires, flooding of farm fields, & so on. 4/24
In Montana, federal dollars for HAZMAT crews can only be released on a 1 for 1
basis with state dollars in a grant basis. Meaning, the state must grant the
money first before the feds can step in and help. Here's the problem....

The Montana State Legislature has ELIMINATED the state grants for local HAZMAT crews for the next FY. Therefore, there is no money from the state which means no money from the feds. (source further down thread)

So, who is the Local HAZMAT Team? It consists of members from county and municipal fire departments, rescue squads, medical services, specialized industry and law enforcement agencies throughout the county. Every county should have one (google the LEPC for your county).

Bottom line: No money = no service. So, if any of the three oil refineries in
Yellowstone County blow, no local HAZMAT can deal with it. If a pipeline bursts,
no local HAZMAT can deal with it.

If one of the industrial trains derails in downtown Billings, the largest city in Montana, no local HAZMAT can deal with it.

If the farms flood (which, they are, Missoula and communities around the Clark Fork River are facing the oft-mythilogical but now very real 100-year-flood RIGHT NOW) ...

...that means farm waste leeches into the rising ground water which contaminates drinking water. It happened in the resort town of Chico, Montana in 2014. 11/24…
Don't believe me? Then read this. This is the formal request from the city of Missoula to the state. It reads, in part, "The State of Montana formerly funded $44,000 to each regional team for equipment, training, and outreach. ..."

".. This funding was cut from the state budget for this biennium and we are uncertain if it will ever be restored. Federal dollars are available through the state, but require a 1:1 match. ..."

"We are requesting up to $22,000 to use as a match to receive an additional $22,000 in federal dollars in order to fully fund the Missoula Regional Hazardous Material Team." 14/24
And here's the local news report on the subject AND how it is already affecting crews as soon as, well, four months ago: 15/24…
HAZMAT local crews are usually run by the fire dept, which is ALSO facing cuts from the Trump administration. H.Con.Res. 71 (link within and further down this thread) and how R's are attacking our fire depts starting with fire fighters' retirement: 16/24…
And continuing with cuts to basic services such as urban search & rescue, Dpt of the
Interior fire (wildfires), and, oh, look at that last line item... STATE FIRE
ASSISTANCE! Hey #StinkyZinke! What the flark? 17/24…
BTW, the House Rep who sponsored that federal bill is Diane Black from TN06. She is running for #Tennessee governor in 2018. She stepped down as chairwoman of the budget committee in Dec 2017. 18/24
So, TN06, you have the opportunity to FLIP THAT SEAT AND deny her the governorship in November.

Srsly, do you want a governor who cuts HAZMAT and fire departments while raiding fire fighter's retirements as your governor? #TNpol

#GOTV and get on it! 19/24
Back to Montana.

At the LEPC Yellowstone County meeting Thursday, Mayor Cole of Billings was in attendance. He took note of the HAZMAT funding issue.

There's not a lot a city can do about a state issue except convince voters to put people in office that can overturn the state denial of HAZMAT funding.

That means....

EVERY. ELECTION. MATTERS! #Montana, let's start there. If you are on mail-in status, your ballots hit the mail YESTERDAY! WATCH for your ballot. EDUCATE yourself about the issues & people on there. #VOTE accordingly. There is more on there than the primary for November. 22/24
EVERY ballot has more than just the headline election(s). Judges, referendums, and so on are on there. #VOTE every time!

If you are not on mail in status, educate yourself anyway (google is your friend),
show up on June 7, and VOTE like your life depends on it. Because with the elimination of HAZMAT funding, it truly does.

Post script...

Missoula is expected to hit 100 year flood levels TODAY. Stay safe. Stay dry. Turn around, don't drown.


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