Michigan lawmakers frustrated after feds deny flood aid



(The Center Square) – Michigan lawmakers are frustrated after the Federal Emergency Management Agency rejected a request for financial aid to fix damages from flooding in the Upper Peninsula between April and May.

State Reps. Greg Markkanen, R-Hancock, and Dave Prestin, R-Cedar River said the flooding caused millions in damages to the UP.

“When severe flooding in the UP caused millions of dollars of damage and serious safety concerns for Yoopers this spring, the state sprung into action and requested a presidential declaration from FEMA for a much-needed lifeline,” Markkanen said in a statement. “FEMA overlooked the substantial havoc caused by the flooding, and rejected Michigan’s request – neglecting the needs of those in my community.”

Michigan State Police in Newberry have since appealed FEMA’s decision.

The request for a major disaster declaration would have brought public assistance and hazard mitigation to the Upper Peninsula to assist people who were directly impacted by the flooding – whether that be health, home, business, a broken road or more.

“FEMA’s denial came with the explanation that ‘the impact from this event was not of such severity and magnitude as to be beyond the capabilities of the state,’” Prestin said in a statement. “This is a slap in the face to the thousands of Yoopers who faced overwhelming damage to their homes and properties, the small and large businesses affected, along with the many first responders who risked their lives. Further, the flooding made it impossible to enjoy the recreational opportunities we so often boast about here in the U.P.

“This is not a partisan issue – it’s a matter of safety.”

FEMA Region 5 News desk told The Center Square that based on a review, “it was determined that the damage from that event was not of such severity and magnitude as to be beyond the capabilities of the state, affected local governments, and voluntary agencies. Accordingly, it was determined that supplemental federal assistance wasn’t necessary.”

The lawmakers said damages in Houghton, Marquette and Ontonagon counties are estimated to cost around $2-3 million while Gogebic County is facing a bill closer to $7 million.

“I’ve spoken with many experts, officials and families in our communities about this – UP residents feel overlooked and underserved by their own federal government,” Markkanen said. “This blatant neglect to the UP is not only a blow to our local communities, but also raises questions about the federal government’s understanding of the challenges and vulnerabilities faced by U.P. residents in the wake of such disasters.”

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