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FEMA denies Gov. Snyder's appeal for assistance for Upper Peninsula

Posted: 8:34 PM, Sep 05, 2018
Updated: 2018-09-06 00:34:07Z

Gov. Rick Snyder’s appeal to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for individual assistance as a result of heavy rainfall and flooding that occurred in the counties of Houghton, Gogebic and Menominee in June has been denied.

According to the denial letter, FEMA determined that the local and state impact from the severe storms and flooding was not beyond the combined capabilities of the state and local governments.

Gov. Snyder declared a state of disaster for Houghton, Gogebic and Menominee counties due to severe weather and widespread flooding that occurred on June 16-17. A presidential disaster declaration was issued earlier this month to provide all three counties with public assistance, which includes recovery resources for public facilities and infrastructure. It did not include individual assistance, which can provide grants for temporary housing and uninsured home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, as well as other programs, to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the flooding.

“I’m disappointed that FEMA did not recognize the severity of the economic impacts on homeowners and local businesses in the affected area who have suffered property damage and have lost wages and productivity as a result of this disaster,” Snyder said. “We will continue to explore options to help these communities recover from the devastation of the flood.”

Gov. Snyder will now seek a physical and economic disaster declaration from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). This would provide additional financial assistance to Michiganders recovering from the recent floods. A letter was sent to the SBA yesterday making the request.

If approved, the SBA disaster assistance program would make low-interest loans available to eligible residents and businesses in the three counties affected by the June floods.

Presidential Disaster Declaration Timeline

Gov. Rick Snyder declared a state of disaster for Houghton and Menominee counties on June 18, and added Gogebic County to the declaration on June 21, due to severe weather and widespread flooding, making available state aid and assistance to communities in the disaster area.

By declaring a "state of disaster," the state of Michigan made available all state resources in cooperation with local response and recovery efforts in the disaster area, as outlined in the Michigan Emergency Management Plan.

Based on information provided by the Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division, state leaders requested a joint Preliminary Damage Assessment (PDA) with federal and local leaders to review and validate the most severely damaged homes, businesses and public facilities across the affected counties.

The teams conducted their assessments from June 26-29. State officials assessed the results and determined the extent of damage reached the level for receiving federal assistance.

On July 9, Lt. Gov. Calley requested that President Trump declare a major disaster as a result of the flooding damage in Houghton, Gogebic and Menominee counties. Article V Section 26 of the Michigan Constitution gives authority for the lieutenant governor to act as governor when the governor is out of state.

President Trump declared a major disaster for Gogebic, Houghton and Menominee counties on Aug. 3, 2018.