Press Releases

Rep. Babin and Judge Sylvia Announce De-obligation of Chambers County Hurricane Ike Cleanup Debt

Washington, October 18, 2018

WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Brian Babin (TX-36) and the Honorable Judge Jimmy Sylvia, Chambers County Judge, released the following joint statement announcing millions of dollars of Hurricane Ike cleanup debt erroneously charged to Chambers County will be de-obligated. An amendment introduced and passed by Babin to this year’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization bill, now signed into law by President Trump, holds FEMA responsible for assurances offered and later rescinded to county governments after expenditures had taken place.  The debt Chambers County acquired during Ike cleanup efforts based on faulty information by FEMA falls under the definition stipulated by the Babin amendment, and therefore essentially will be canceled out.

“This is a great day for residents of Chambers County,” said Rep. Babin. “The process initiated by today’s letter is the culmination of years of hard work that will ensure FEMA takes responsibility for their assurances made to county officials in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Ike and the federally-declared disaster left in its wake. With this debt de-obligated, Chambers County can once again operate in service of its citizens without the fear of imminent financial calamity. Thank you to my colleagues Senators Cruz and Cornyn, Judge Sylvia, and so many others whose efforts have ensured the county can put this behind them and continue focusing on prosperity for the county.”

“I'm extremely happy to announce that the $9 million in de-obligated FEMA funds looming over Chambers County since Hurricane Ike have been eliminated,” said Judge Sylvia. “Thanks to the diligence of Congressman Babin and assistance from Senators Cornyn and Cruz, H.R. 302 (specifically section 1237 pertaining to de-obligated funds by FEMA) was signed  by President Trump on October 5, 2018. This culminates many years of work by county leaders and staff to resolve this financial burden. I would like to thank our Congressional Delegation, Ernie Abbott with Baker Donelson, Nathan Brandimarte with Orgain Bell and Tucker, and all County employees involved.”

Click here to view a video of Babin introducing, and passing, his amendment on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Click here for the Texas Department of Public Safety letter to FEMA officially requesting restoration of previously de-obligated funds to Chambers County.