Sen. Vitter holds up FEMA nominee

May 3, 2009 at 1:23 AM
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WASHINGTON, May 3 (UPI) -- Sen. David Vitter, R-La., is holding up the confirmation of President Barack Obama's nominee as head of FEMA because of questions about Hurricane Katrina.

Craig Fugate, the Florida emergency management director, was approved unanimously by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, The Miami Herald reported Saturday. Vitter's hold appears to have nothing to do with Fugate's qualifications to head the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the newspaper said.

"I have a hold on the FEMA nomination because I sent a list of hurricane recovery questions and projects to FEMA, many of which have not been adequately addressed," Vitter said in statement. "I'm eager to get full responses and meet with the nominee immediately."

Vitter's questions involve regulations that ban federal funding for building in "high-velocity flood zones." Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., said she shares some of Vitter's questions, although she supports Fugate's nomination.

Louisiana officials say state and local authorities should have more flexibility.

Fugate in Florida directed emergency operations during five hurricanes in 2004 and 2005. Hurricane season begins June 1.

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