HomeArkansas newsGovernor Sarah Huckabee Sanders declares state of emergency in Arkansas following severe...

Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders declares state of emergency in Arkansas following severe storms

Arkansas – Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders has officially declared a state of emergency in Arkansas due to the severe storms, tornadoes, and flooding that began on May 24, 2024. This declaration, detailed in Executive Order 24-07, mobilizes resources and outlines measures to aid in the rapid recovery from the damage inflicted across the state.

Immediate Actions and Funding

The executive order was necessitated by the widespread destruction caused by these natural disasters, which posed significant danger and hardship to the citizens of Arkansas. In response, Governor Sanders has directed the allocation of $250,000 from the Governor’s Disaster Response and Recovery Fund. This funding is earmarked for both program and administrative costs associated with the emergency operations led by the Arkansas Division of Emergency Management.

Regulatory Relief for Emergency Response

To facilitate the swift restoration of services, particularly power, the executive order provides specific regulatory relief. It acknowledges the extensive damage to infrastructure, including numerous downed power lines, which has created urgent needs for heavy equipment and support to repair electrical service disruptions quickly.

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Commercial vehicles transporting essential equipment like transformers and other hardware to support line crews are temporarily exempt from federal regulations that limit maximum drive times. This exemption applies to vehicles actively responding to the emergency, ensuring that restoration efforts are not hindered by regulatory delays.

Special Provisions for Transport and Utility Vehicles

The order also specifies that commercial vehicles engaged in direct emergency assistance are authorized to bypass Arkansas Department of Transportation weigh station facilities until June 9, 2024. This measure is intended to expedite the transport of critical equipment and personnel involved in the emergency response. However, it’s important to note that this exemption does not lift size and weight restrictions, and it is applicable only to vehicles traveling in convoy.

Governor’s Commitment to Effective Management

“Pursuant to Ark. Code Ann. §12-75-114(e)(1), I am authorized to suspend any regulatory statutes or rules that in any way prevent, hinder, or delay necessary actions in coping with this emergency,” stated Governor Sanders. This decisive action underlines the commitment to ensuring that the state’s response mechanisms are agile and effective in the face of such significant natural disasters.

As Arkansas continues to deal with the aftermath of these severe weather events, the measures put in place by Governor Sanders aim to support rapid recovery and aid efforts, helping to alleviate the immediate impacts on affected communities and restore normalcy as quickly as possible.

Nathan Kim

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