Obama signs Sandy disaster decree for Pennsylvania

President Barack Obama speaks to reporters about the fiscal cliff in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, Friday, Dec. 21, 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

Federal disaster aid will be available to Pennsylvania for recovery efforts from Hurricane Sandy.

President Barack Obama signed a disaster declaration for Pennsylvania on Thursday. The decree makes federal aid available to state, local and nonprofit efforts to recover from damage sustained between Oct. 26 and Nov. 8 of last year.

The funding is for repairs like removing debris from public area or replacing damaged roads, bridges, schools, recreational areas and other public property, as well as emergency measures and hazard-mitigation projects, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

It applies to areas affected by Sandy in Bedford, Bucks, Cameron, Dauphin, Forest, Franklin, Fulton, Huntingdon, Juniata, Monroe, Northampton, Pike, Potter, Somerset, Sullivan and Wyoming counties.

Harder-hit states like New Jersey and New York were declared disaster areas shortly after Sandy hit.

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.), who had pressed for Pennsylvania to receive aid, lauded the declaration.

"I'm pleased the Administration has done the right thing and decided to reimburse Pennsylvania for the costs it incurred during preparations for Sandy," Casey said in a statement.

Contact Emily Babay at 215-854-2153 or ebabay@philly.com. Follow @emilybabay on Twitter.