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Snyder appeals Obama denial of Flint disaster declaration as state House approves $28M

Jan 20, 2016

Credit Aunt owwee / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Gov. Rick Snyder is asking the Obama Administration to change its mind and declare a major disaster in Flint.

Snyder requested the declaration in order to free up $96 million in federal aid for Flint.

The Obama Administration said those declarations are used to address natural disasters such as floods or fires.

Snyder argues in a press release announcing the appeal that, “the situation in Flint is a disaster and in need of a federal declaration.”

“This situation poses an imminent and long-term threat to the people of Flint,” said Snyder. “We appreciate the support of the White House through the earlier emergency declaration. But additional federal resources are needed for the work that must be done.”

The administration has already approved Snyder's separate request for a federal emergency in Flint, freeing up to $5 million to aid the public health crisis.

Flint lawmakers cheered the governor’s appeal on Wednesday.

“I applaud the governor appealing this decision. And I really hope that it was just a snap, quick decision by the president when he declined the actual disaster relief,” said state Rep. Phil Phelps, D-Flushing, who represents parts of Flint.

“I really hope the federal government changes their mind on this.”

Phelps is also sponsoring a bill to send $28 million in state aid to Flint – as Snyder requested in his State of the State address Tuesday night. That bill got unanimous support in the state House on Wednesday and now goes to the Senate.

He says it’s just a start.

“Right now it’s going to address the very short term immediate things that we need,” said Phelps.

“We are also going to address it – from word from the governor – that we are going to address it in the next budget cycle and possibly budget cycles going on.”