October 22, 2018

Sens. Warren, Markey & Reps. Tsongas, Moulton Seek Disaster Relief for Small Businesses Affected by Merrimack Valley Explosions

Lawmakers Support State's Request for Assistance Under SBA's Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program

Text of the Letter (PDF)

Washington, DC - United States Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), along with Representatives Niki Tsongas (D-Mass.) and Seth Moulton (D-Mass.), today sent a letter to the Small Business Administration (SBA) in support of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts' request for emergency assistance under the SBA's Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program made following the Merrimack Valley gas explosions last month.  If granted, the SBA's EIDL program would assist small businesses impacted by the explosions recoup the loss of revenue and help stabilize the local economy. 

Last month, natural gas explosions caused more than 70 fires in the City of Lawrence and towns of Andover and North Andover, Massachusetts.  One person was killed and twenty-five people were injured as a result of the disaster, which damaged or destroyed dozens of homes and left thousands of residents and businesses without gas service. In addition to the costs incurred by residents, businesses in the area are faced with the financial burden of loss of revenue in the upcoming months. The Merrimack Chamber of Commerce, in coordination with the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), has identified between 800 and 1000 businesses impacted by this disaster.

The SBA's Economic Injury Disaster Loan program would work to bridge the loss of revenue and help stabilize the local economy. The low-interest loans provided by the EIDL program would greatly impact the revitalization of the region and help business meet operating expenses.

In their letter to SBA Administrator Linda McMahon, the lawmakers noted the significant economic hardship faced by businesses in the region following the explosions and expressed concern that businesses will continue to lose revenue while Columbia Gas works to restore service by November 19, 2018.

"The Merrimack Valley community continues to face significant disaster response and recovery costs as they respond to the damage to properties," the Massachusetts lawmakers wrote. "Federal assistance is critically needed to help the small businesses of the region rebuild and recoup financial losses."

Earlier this month, Senators Warren and Markey wrote to Administrator McMahon to invite her to join them in touring the affected area and seeing firsthand the devastating impact of the catastrophe on the Merrimack Valley's small businesses.