State Representative Greg Markkanen expresses frustration with the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s recent rejection of aid to the Upper Peninsula. In a statement, Representative Markkanen says that the region needs a financial lifeline to assist in repairing damage caused by the spring’s snowmelt flooding. The representative further expressed disappointment in the federal agency’s decision to reject the state’s request for assistance.
Makkanen and other Upper Peninsula representatives feel that FEMA has overlooked the substantial havoc caused by the flooding, and has neglected those affected in his district. Emergency management directors from the region have estimated damage in Houghton, Maquette and Onotnagon counties will cost between 2 to 3 million dollars. While damage in Gogebic County’s is estimated to cost closer to seven million dollars. An appeal to the FEMA decision has been placed by the Michigan State Police Newbury Post.
Find the full statement below:
Reps. Markkanen, Prestin condemn FEMA’s rejection to assist U.P. after severe flooding
State Reps. Greg Markkanen and Dave Prestin expressed frustration after Michigan’s request for assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was recently rejected despite major damage to the Upper Peninsula between April and May.
“When severe flooding in the U.P. 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,” said Markkanen, of Hancock. “FEMA overlooked the substantial havoc caused by the flooding, and rejected Michigan’s request – neglecting the needs of those in my community.”
The denial letter from FEMA has prompted both U.P. legislators to highlight the need for federal assistance in the wake of the extreme flooding, as well as the blatant neglect to the U.P.’s unique needs. The request for a major disaster declaration would have brought much-needed public assistance, and hazard mitigation to the Upper Peninsula to assist folks who were directly impacted by the flooding – whether that be their 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,’” said Prestin, of Cedar River. “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.”
Damages in Houghton, Marquette and Ontonagon counties are estimated to cost around $2-3 million, reports show, 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 – U.P. residents feel overlooked and underserved by their own federal government,” Markkanen said. “This blatant neglect to the U.P. 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.”
Michigan State Police in Newberry (Luce County) have since appealed FEMA’s decision. Markkanen and Prestin pledge their full support for the appeal and will continue to advocate for the U.P. communities affected by the flooding.
Greg Markkanen is serving his third term in the Michigan House. He represents the 110th House District, which includes the Upper Peninsula counties of Iron, Houghton, Keweenaw, Ontonagon, and Gogebic, and a portion of Dickinson County.
Dave Prestin is serving his first term in the Michigan House. He represents Michigan’s 108th House District, which spans the Upper Peninsula counties of Delta, Menominee, Schoolcraft, and Luce, as well as parts of Chippewa and Mackinac.