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Sens. Cruz, Cornyn Urge Support for USDA Disaster Declaration for Cameron, Hidalgo, Willacy Counties Amid Agricultural Losses Due to Storms

February 19, 2021

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202-228-7561

HOUSTON, Texas - U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and John Cornyn (R-Texas) today wrote Acting Secretary of Agriculture Kevin Shea in support of Governor Abbott's federal disaster declaration request for Cameron, Hidalgo, and Willacy counties amid significant agricultural production losses due to severe winter storms across the State of Texas.

In the letter, the senators wrote:

"While the state continues to assess damages in other counties, Governor Abbott has requested that USDA expeditiously issue a disaster designation for the following counties: Cameron, Hidalgo, Willacy, and any other county that demonstrates a significant agricultural production loss as a result of severe winter weather. The Governor and local officials have informed us that the agricultural losses and crop damage across the state are of a magnitude that is beyond the response capabilities of the state and local government."

Read the full text of the letter below.

February 19, 2021

The Honorable Kevin Shea
Acting Secretary of Agriculture
U.S. Department of Agriculture
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20250

Dear Secretary Shea:

The State of Texas, through the Office of the Governor, has made a formal request for a disaster declaration as a result of severe winter weather that has impacted the State consistent with the provisions of 7 C.F.R. Part 759. As you know, Governor Abbott declared a state disaster in all 254 counties on February 12, 2021.

Governor Abbott requested that President Biden issue an emergency declaration under Section 501 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, 42 U.S.C. § 5191. The President promptly granted Texas's request on February 14, 2021. On February 18, 2021, he also requested that President Biden issue a Major Disaster Declaration.

While the state continues to assess damages in other counties, Governor Abbott has requested that USDA expeditiously issue a disaster designation for the following counties: Cameron, Hidalgo, Willacy, and any other county that demonstrates a significant agricultural production loss as a result of severe winter weather. The Governor and local officials have informed us that the agricultural losses and crop damage across the state are of a magnitude that is beyond the response capabilities of the state and local government.

We respectfully urge you to support this request and provide any and all emergency measures afforded by the approval of a disaster declaration. We stand prepared to assist you in any way possible to ensure prompt evaluation of this request. Please do not hesitate to reach out to our offices with any questions.

Sincerely,

/s/

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