Congressman Rick Nolan

Representing the 8th District of Minnesota
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Klobuchar, Smith, Nolan Urge Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to Approve Disaster Relief Funding to Kanabec County Following Major Flooding

Oct 24, 2018
Press Release
Although the President declared a major disaster last month as a result of the flooding, FEMA denied the request for disaster relief funding, claiming the county's damage was due to a "separate" weather event

WASHINGTON- U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith, and Congressman Rick Nolan (all D-MN) sent a letter to Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Regional Administrator James Joseph urging him to reconsider the denial of FEMA disaster relief funding to Kanabec County and extend the relevant incident period to July 12, 2018, in the wake of recent flooding in the area. On September 5, the President declared a major disaster as a result of the flooding that occurred between June 15 and July 11 in southern Minnesota. The declaration authorized disaster relief for 27 counties and the Leech Lake, Red Lake, and White Earth tribal reservations. However, since the damage from the storms did not reach Kanabec County until the early morning of July 12, 2018, FEMA officials attributed the county's damage to a "separate" weather event, effectively excluding the county from receiving assistance. The state of Minnesota has appealed the decision. 

“This particular storm system formed to the north of Kanabec County on July 11 and resulted in significant rainfall in counties to Kanabec's north including Aitkin, Pine, Carlton, St. Louis, Koochiching, and St. Louis Counties. The storm caused extensive damage to the county including overflowed lakes, flooded roads, washed out railroad tracks, and water damage to homes,” the members wrote. “Given the degree of damage in Kanabec County and the clear link between this damage and the damage currently covered by the Declaration, we respectfully request that you consider reexamining this case and authorize Public Assistance funding to Kanabec County.”

The full text of the letter can be found below:

Dear Regional Administrator Joseph:

We write to request that you reconsider the denial of Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Public Assistance funding to Kanabec County in Minnesota and extend the relevant incident period to July 12, 2018.

Last month the President approved Minnesota's Major Disaster Declaration in 27 counties and three tribal nations, and authorized federal assistance to supplement state, tribal, and local recovery efforts in the areas affected by severe weather from June 15 to July 11, 2018. However, since the damage from the storms did not reach Kanabec County until the early morning of July 12, 2018, FEMA officials attributed the county's damage to a "separate" weather event, effectively excluding the county from receiving assistance.

This particular storm system formed to the north of Kanabec County on July 11 and resulted in significant rainfall in counties to Kanabec's north including Aitkin, Pine, Carlton, St. Louis, Koochiching, and St. Louis Counties. In addition to the storm's impact on Kanabec County late in the evening of July 11, many of these counties drain directly into Kanabec, causing significant flooding on July 12 that was the result of the flooding that occurred during the designated incident period. The storm caused extensive damage to the county including overflowed lakes, flooded roads, washed out railroad tracks, and water damage to homes. Data collected by the joint federal-state Public Disaster Assistance Team estimated the total damage in Kanabec County at $790,168.

Given the degree of damage in Kanabec County and the clear link between this damage and the damage currently covered by the Declaration, we respectfully request that you consider reexamining this case and authorize Public Assistance funding to Kanabec County. Thank you for your attention to this request.

Sincerely,