Ken Kalthoff, NBCDFW.com
Governor Rick Perry wants to know why Texas' request for disaster aid for wildfires sent weeks ago went unanswered while Alabama got immediate government assistance after twisters hit that state.
Gov. Rick Perry, speaking to a Texas emergency management conference on Thursday, criticized federal response to a request for federal aid dollars for Texas wildfires.
"You have to ask, 'Why are you taking care of Alabama and other states?' I know our letter didn't get lost in the mail," Perry said.
President Barack Obama recently declared a state of emergency for Alabama, where an outbreak of tornadoes killed nearly 300 people, including one student from the DFW area. White House officials said Obama will visit the state Friday to survey damage.
The federal declaration of emergency comes with aid dollars that should help the effected areas rebuild after the devestating storms. Perry had requested a similar designation for the areas of Texas affected by wildfires, which scorched nearly 2 million acres in the last few weeks. That request has not yet been fullfilled.
"They watch TV, they know what's going on here, they can recognize that there is going to be a request for assistance, a request for help," Perry said.
Over 900 buildings have been destroyed in the wildfires, and the lives of two Texas firefighters were claimed during the fight. Local fire departments and the Texas Forest Service have spent more than $60 million since Sept. 1, 2010 responding to wildfires, forest service spokeswoman Linda Moon told Reuters.
FEMA officials have been working on distaster relief efforts for the Texas wildfires, including sending 22 grants to help pay for fire management expenses.
"Governor Perry's request is currently under review, and we'll continue our close coordination with the state as they work to protect their residents and communities," FEMA spokeswoman Rachel Racusen told Reuters.
Perry has often been critical of the Obama administration and the federal government in general, fighting against federal health care reform laws and Enviromental Protection Agency regulations on clean air initiatives. Perry has previously said the president is "punishing" Texas and not taking care of security issues on the states' border with Mexico.