Matt Gruening, chief of staff for Stutes, a Kodiak Republican, said their office has been told for the past few months that NOAA’s approval of the disaster relief funding would happen any week, and that an application process would be in place shortly thereafter. But it wasn’t until March 19 that federal contacts advised that approval is now an estimated three weeks out, and that the funds are at the Federal Office of Management and Budget, which is making this a priority.
“We obviously are not pleased that an approval that should have occurred by the first of this year is still three weeks away in the middle of March. That being said, the federal process is notoriously slow and unresponsive and there is little we can do but stay informed, and in turn, keep you informed,” Gruening said in a message to fishermen.
Once the application process is in place, the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission will contact fishermen directly with applications, and have a dedicated, toll-free hotline to answer questions. The timeline between approval of the grant and checks being mailed out is typically one month.