Snyder asks Obama to reconsider denial of disaster aid for Flint
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder is asking President Barack Obama to reconsider the denial of his request for a federal disaster declaration in Flint.
The governor submitted his appeal on Wednesday, likening the crisis to a flood and saying that the city’s lead-contaminated water is a “natural catastrophe in the sense that lead contamination into water is a natural process.”
The Obama administration declared an emergency but determined the crisis did not meet the legal definition of a major disaster.
Snyder says the “considerable” needs brought by the disaster exceed the funding capabilities of state and local government. He says without additional federal aid, Michigan won’t have money to repair the entire public water system, plumbing inside homes in the high-poverty city and to provide other assistance.
On Saturday, Obama signed an emergency declaration, clearing the way for $5 million in federal aid, but denied Snyder’s request for a disaster declaration based on the legal requirement that such relief is intended for natural events, fires, floods or explosions.
Flint’s water became contaminated with too much lead when its water source was switched in a cost-cutting measure in 2014. The more corrosive water from the Flint River caused the city’s water pipes to leach lead into the drinking water. Protesters called for the governor’s resignation as he delivered his State of the State speech Tuesday night.