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.
“The governor signed away the future of the Upper Peninsula to please climate activists, not considering the factories that this will close and the families who will struggle to afford their heat in the middle of winter. Public utilities will be forced to spend millions on preposterous renewable energy credits to become compliant with these radical new laws. These additional expenses will be passed down to consumers who can’t afford their energy bills as it is.”
“These bills are precisely the opposite of what the U.P. and Michigan needs,” said Prestin, R-Cedar River. “The most urgent need is to reduce costs and increase reliability. Even if the tiny contribution Michigan makes to global emissions mattered, which it doesn’t, this plan will make living and working here harder for our residents.”
“Democrats just spent two weeks passing legislation that will wreak havoc across Michigan. Now, they’re tucking their tails, ignoring their duty to the voters, and running out of town. We are a full-time legislature. It’s been forty years since we’ve adjourned as early as Democrats did this week.”
“Our medical first responders and emergency medical technicians have reached a critical shortage in people interested in doing the work,” Prestin said. “This legislation would allow EMS agencies to advance the next generation of this crucial profession. We already allow high school students to train for these jobs. This package just ensures that those recruits can get into the workforce when they complete their coursework instead of waiting until their eighteenth birthday.”