Trump urged to declare disaster after U.P. flooding
Washington — Michigan lawmakers are urging President Donald Trump to act "swiftly" to approve the state's request for a major disaster declaration after severe flash flooding in the Upper Peninsula last month.
Democratic U.S. Sens. Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters, as well as Rep. Jack Bergman, R-Watersmeet, wrote to Trump on Tuesday asking him to approve Lt. Gov. Brian Calley's disaster request regarding the flooding damage in Houghton, Gogebic and Menominee counties.
"The people of the State of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula are resilient, and we commend the work of federal, state, and local officials to promptly assess the damage from the flooding," the lawmakers wrote.
"We urge you to issue a federal major disaster declaration swiftly and to provide the requested assistance so the residents and business owners of these communities can begin to recover from this disaster."
Major storms last month washed out roads, opened sinkholes and flooded homes in the Upper Peninsula. A 12-year-old boy died in the aftermath of the storms when a mudslide tore through his family's home in Houghton County.
Calley made a request Monday for supplementary federal aid, seeking assistance for eligible residents with with home repairs and uninsured property losses, as well as businesses and local governments as a result of the magnitude of the flooding June 16 and 17.
Gov. Rick Snyder declared a state of disaster for the three counties last month to enable state assistance to the communities, including deploying the National Guard to help.
But "the extensive damage and required recovery efforts extend beyond the capacity of the state and local governments," the lawmakers said.
Their letter says damage from the flooding in the three counties is estimated at more than $42 million to public facilities alone.
"While summer is currently in full swing, the Upper Peninsula’s unpredictable weather can significantly shorten the traditional construction season," the lawmakers wrote to Trump.
"Any damage that is not addressed before the season ends could be compounded by the snow melt in the spring and increase the risks to the affected communities."
A federal disaster declaration would make available aid from agencies such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Small Business Administration.
Calley’s request would be reviewed by FEMA, which advises Trump whether to grant the request.
Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration announced $2 million in emergency relief funds to reimburse the state for initial repairs to flood-damaged roads.