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FEMA denies Dakota County disaster aid request

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As of the start of this week, one Minnesota county was still waiting to be added to the federal disaster aid list following this summer's historic flooding.

Turns out, that county might not make the cut.

The Department of Public Safety said in a press release Wednesday FEMA denied Dakota County's request to be added to the federal disaster declaration. The county received a rejection letter from FEMA Tuesday evening, saying the damage "was not of the severity and magnitude to warrant inclusion."

You can view the full letter here.

The state has 30 days to appeal the decision; the Department of Public Safety says it plans to do so.

In the state's request letter, representative for the governor Kris Eide says FEMA removed some damage in the city of Mendota due to slope failure from the federal damage indicator, which knocked Dakota County below the cost threshold.

"It is the state's position that this slope failure was caused by the declared event and should be declared eligible," the request letter says.

You can see a list of all the approved counties on FEMA's disaster declaration site for Minnesota. Dakota County is not on there as of Thursday morning.

Total preliminary damage estimates statewide have exceeded $40 million.

About a week ago, Hennepin and Ramsey counties were deemed eligible by FEMA to apply for federal disaster aid.

Gov. Mark Dayton issued a statement thanking FEMA officials for the adding the counties, in which he specifically mentioned Dakota County:

"I am very pleased that Hennepin and Ramsey counties have now been included in the FEMA emergency designation, and I am hopeful that Dakota county will also qualify," he said. "However, if it does not, it is eligible for the state emergency disaster assistance program, which the legislature passed last spring.”

The additions of Hennepin and Ramsey raise the total number of Minnesota counties eligible for assistance to 37, the declaration also includes three tribal governments. The 40 communities sustained damage from storms, flooding and mudslides that occurred between June 11 and July 11.

The initial disaster designation issued in July covered eight counties largely in west central and southwest Minnesota. On July 31, the declaration was extended to cover an additional 26 communities and last week three additional counties and the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa were also added.

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