• Vt. asking FEMA for more time to site new lab
     | February 18,2014

    MONTPELIER — The state of Vermont is asking the Federal Emergency Management Agency for more time to plan a replacement for the state agriculture and environmental laboratory in Waterbury that was abandoned after Tropical Storm Irene flooded the area.

    State officials recently determined they couldn’t meet FEMA’s deadlines for details and a legislative commitment to the project.

    “We are just trying to get clarification,” said Deputy Secretary of Administration Michael Clasen.

    Buildings and General Services Department Commissioner Michael Obuchowski told the House Institutions Committee of the problem earlier this week. He said the state would be unable to meet a May 20 deadline to identify a site and a design for the new laboratory.

    Under the schedule the department and the Legislature had for the project, that information would be decided in the 2015 legislative session.

    FEMA spokesman Dennis Pinkham said that FEMA and Vermont officials were “continuing to work on the issues,” noting there were many changes in federal disaster relief law after Hurricane Sandy.

    Since Tropical Storm Irene inundated the Waterbury office complex in 2011, the laboratory work has been done in other locations.

    The state is currently evaluating three state-owned sites as the permanent location for a new laboratory and they could solicit proposals for other locations.

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