Whitmer to ask Trump for flooding disaster declaration soon


SANFORD, Mich. (WOOD) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says she will ask the federal government for assistance after the failure of two dams in Midland County.

The governor was in Sanford, northeast of the city of Midland, on Monday to talk with local leaders about what needs to be rebuilt, how to replace infrastructure like bridges and water lines and reconstructing the Edenville and Sanford dams, which failed in May and forced some 11,000 people along the Tittabawassee River and connected lakes from their homes.

The governor told the community she is reaching out to Washington to get immediate help by asking President Donald Trump for a major disaster declaration as early as next week.

“This is something that is a very intensive process where all of the information has to be collected in support of that request,” Whitmer said during an afternoon briefing at a Sanford elementary school. “We want it to be granted and so we’ve got to get it right. We’re moving quickly. An incredible amount of work goes into this. All of the work that you are doing on the local level, that we’re doing at the state level will contribute to us getting the kind of federal support we need. When the president approves our full request, federal assistance will be unlocked to help people and businesses get back on their feet and repair some of the damage that this flooding has caused. A declaration helps us provide everything from crisis counseling to debris removal and road repair, as well as opening up access to low-interest loans to homeowners, renters, businesses, farms and nonprofits that have been impacted by this event.”

While Whitmer and local officials don’t yet know exactly what will have to be rebuilt and what that process will look like, estimates for restoring the area already come in at more than $200 million.

After her remarks, Whitmer volunteered at the flood relief donation distribution center.

Whitmer has ordered the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy to start an investigation to determine what caused the dam failures.

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