State leaders send own request to Obama for federal aid

Published 3:02 pm Saturday, June 26, 2010

United States Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, along with U.S. Reps. Jim Oberstar, Collin Peterson and Tim Walz on Friday sent a letter to President Barack Obama, urging him to issue a federal disaster declaration for the seven counties in Minnesota that suffered severe storm damage on June 17.

The letter followed Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s official request to Obama on Friday for a federal disaster declaration.

A presidential disaster declaration would provide financial assistance to individual residents, businesses and local governments.

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In the letter, the members stated, “Given the degree of damage to these regions of our state, we strongly encourage you to issue such a declaration in a timely manner and allow FEMA to begin to supplement state and local recovery efforts in these storm-stricken areas.”

At least 18 tornadoes struck down from the storms, with winds as high as 175 mph. These violent weather events resulted in three fatalities and numerous injuries.

The storms also caused thousands of acres of crop damage and other agricultural losses, as well as widespread damage to public facilities and infrastructure. Over 800 homes were damaged, including more than 100 that were completely destroyed.

“Minnesotans have faced significant disasters in recent years, from the latest deadly storms, to widespread flooding to devastating drought. We are confident that the residents of southern, western and central Minnesota will recover and rebuild, and we urge you to make the federal government a full partner in that effort,” the letter states.