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Friday, August 10, 2007

FEMA Reverses Itself, Wisely

The government said that it will release, to the News-Press and two other Gannett-owned newspapers, public records on Florida disaster grant payments beginning Aug. 17.

This reverses an earlier statement that The News-Press and the two other Florida papers would have to wait on another court ruling before receiving the addresses of the 660,000 households that received $1.2 billion from the Federal Emergency Management Agency after the 2004 hurricane season.

Complying with an 11th Circuit Court of Appeals decision, FEMA said Monday that the agency would release the public records to the Sun-Sentinel, which had also sued for the records. But it was denying the Gannett papers the same access. That changed Wednesday. The information is coming in two batches because the data files are huge, said spokesman Aaron Walker.

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