President Obama declares State of Emergency in response to Flint water emergency

Photo: White House / MGN
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FLINT (WJRT) - (1/16/15) - President Barack Obama has declared a State of Emergency in Michigan to help with Flint's ongoing water troubles. That's according to information released by the White House, this afternoon.

The declaration is in response to Governor Rick Snyder's Thursday request for federal help in handling Flint's water emergency.

According to the release, the action opens up the Department of Homeland Security and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to coordinate relief efforts in Genesee County to protect public health and safety under Title V of the Stafford Act. FEMA can also provide equipment and resources to help with the emergency.

The release states, "Emergency protective measures, limited to direct federal assistance, will be provided at 75 percent federal funding. This emergency assistance is to provide water, water filters, water filter cartridges, water test kits, and other necessary related items for a period of no more than 90 days."

According to Governor Snyder's office, the declaration is good for $5 million in federal resources, of which, the state of Michigan has to match 25 percent. However, Congress has the option to approve additional funding.

A request for a "Major Disaster Declaration" was turned down because Flint's water emergency is not considered a natural disaster. The state is appealing that decision.

U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Flint) released a statement in response to the declaration, Saturday. It reads, “I welcome the President’s quick action in support of the people of Flint after months of inaction by the Governor. The residents and children of Flint deserve every resource available to make sure that they have safe water and are able to recover from this terrible man-made disaster created by the state.”

Flint's Mayor, Dr. Karen Weaver, also responded. In a statement, she says the declaration is what the city has been waiting for.

President Obama is also looking at other means of federal support that do not require an emergency declaration under the Stafford Act.

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