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FEMA rejects Idaho's appeal for help with snow storm damage in five counties

Posted at 7:01 PM, May 03, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-03 21:01:28-04

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has rejected the state's appeal seeking help for Ada, Canyon, Custer, Payette and Washington counties in the wake of snowstorms from December 22, 2016, to January 19, 2017. Funding would have helped public infrastructure and public property.

“After a thorough review of all the information contained in your initial request and appeal, we reaffirm our original findings that the impact from this event is not of the severity and magnitude that warrants a major disaster declaration,” wrote FEMA Acting Administrator Robert Fenton.

In a statement, Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter expressed frustration and resolve Wednesday at the news.

"In Washington County alone the bills that have been submitted to our office of emergency management exceed $183,000 so when you multiply that out across the four other counties it's a pretty big bill," said Jon Hanian spokesmen for Governor Otter.

“Our disappointment that FEMA has denied our request does not impact the State’s efforts. We will continue to work closely with the counties affected,” said Brad Richy, deputy chief of the Idaho Office of Emergency Management. “This appeal was an important continuation of our efforts to work on behalf of the counties, to ensure that every available resource has been pursued fully.”

Last week President Trump signed a Presidential Disaster Declaration making available federal relief in response to flooding from February 5-March 3 in Cassia, Franklin, Gooding, Jefferson, Jerome, Lincoln, Minidoka, Twin Falls and Washington counties. Still pending is a federal disaster declaration for flooding, landslides, and avalanches from March 6th through April 3rd in Bonner, Boundary, Clearwater, Idaho, Kootenai, Latah, Shoshone and Valley counties.