Petition to U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives
Demand a Special Commission Investigation Into Puerto Rico Hurricane Maria Death Toll
More Americans died in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria than on September 11th, and in Hurricane Katrina. It's been 9 months since Hurricane Maria, and we are just now finding out that over 4,600 people died from the storm. That death toll is dramatically higher than what lawmakers first told us -- including President Trump who, in the aftermath of the storm, said that only 17 people died. How did U.S. and Puerto Rican authorities get the death toll number so wrong? Join with concerned citizens and demand that Congress create a special commission to investigate how thousands of deaths happened and went unreported by our government. Hurricane Maria was the deadliest natural disaster in over a century. When thousands of Americans are killed, we deserve thorough answers from the government as to what happened. Just like after September 11th, when a special commission was established to find out what happened after the loss of so many lives, we need a Hurricane Maria Commission Investigation of similar magnitude. There should be accountability for what happened at all levels of government that kept hidden the fact that 4,600 Americans died during this storm, and helps ensure that no future natural disaster comes close to claiming this many lives.
Petition to U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives
Award the Cajun Navy the Congressional Gold Medal
The "Cajun Navy" has worked tirelessly over the last few years to help tens of thousands of people who have been pummeled by some of the worst storms in American history. This volunteer group of private boat owners have put their lives on the line to help people in need during natural disasters. They helped rescue survivors in Texas in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. They worked directly with politicians to rescue victims of Hurricane Irma in Florida. And just this month they traveled to North Carolina to be on the frontlines during Hurricane Florence, rescuing countless people as flood waters and torrential storm conditions hit communities in the Carolinas hard. Last year President Trump called out the work of the "Cajun Navy" during his State of the Union address. Now it's time to go one step further, and honor this volunteer group of heroes with one of the highest civilian honors in the country -- the Congressional Gold Medal. Sign this petition to support honoring the "Cajun Navy" with the Congressional Gold Medal. Previous recipients of this honor include the Native American Code Talkers, the Tuskegee Airmen, Billy Graham, and the Women Airforce Service Pilots, among dozens of other men, women and groups who have made a direct impact on American history. What better way to honor a group that has literally saved thousands of American citizens in times of need than by giving them one of the nation's highest civilian honors? Let's ask Congress to hold up the work the "Cajun Navy" has done during these last few years and continues to do each and every year during natural disasters. Their work can be life-saving, and Congress has a unique moment to thank these folks for volunteering to save their neighbors from floods, hurricanes, tropical storms and more.
Petition to The Hawaii Federal Delegation
Increase Relief Funds for Farmers from the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program
We appreciate the hard work that U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono, Brian Schatz, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, and Colleen Hanabusa for assisting farmers in regards to the lava disaster, and their continued support in this effort. 2018 has been a devastating year for families, impacted by a lava disaster. The Kilauea Volcano erupted May 2, spewing lava that destroyed 715 homes, also inundated (or made inaccessible) were 3,385 parcels, which affected a total of 17,900 acres. Hawaii Island has endured lava flows, earthquakes, toxic gases, volcanic ash, Pele's hair, thick vog and laze, water contamination, and wildfires, all this has impacted homes and businesses indiscriminately. The forecasted cost to complete a long-term recovery is projected as a staggering amount of $689,828,500. Big Island farmers have been particularly hard hit by this lava flow. Acidic gases also severely affected crops over a much larger area than lava flows. Farmers are crucial to the local economy and play a vital role in preserving agriculture lands. Keeping farmers in business is essential to the goal of food sustainability, without help many of our farms will not survive. There is a solution to help farmers keep farming. Programs are available at the federal level to assist farmers who have experienced exceptional damage from a natural disaster. They are monies already allocated for farmers but haven’t been fully accessed due to maximum payment limitations (CAP). Federal funding is available under a program in the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), called the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP). NAP provides assistance for crop losses when commercial crop insurance is not available. Currently, there is a cap on how much relief funds can be released to farmers, which means a farmer that had 10 million dollars of crop damage will receive the same amount of relief as a farmer who had 250 thousand dollars of crop damage. The CAP on NAP doesn’t adequately address the size of a farm and the extent of damage that was done to the farmer’s business. Although the maximum relief of $125,000 is not an insignificant amount of assistance for farmers, it doesn’t compare to expenditures for clearing, replanting, fencing, loss of inventory, infrastructure, and labor that it takes to recover from this disaster. Unfortunately, these relief funds to farmers are further reduced by 6.6% due to sequestration requirements to offset the Federal deficit. Lifting the cap on NAP will keep farmers farming in the future. If the cap is lifted, the relief funds a farmer can receive will help reduce future challenges of recovery and to start farming again. The need to lift the cap on NAP is nothing new. The cap was previously lifted for farmers that were affected by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria, and other hurricanes and wildfires occurring in the calendar year of 2017 that provided relief funds for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Legislative language was added in the H.R.1892 - Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 to lift the cap on the NAP, which later became law on February 09, 2018. This cap has been lifted in the past under similar catastrophic circumstances. It’s time to do it again and help farmers on Hawaii Island.