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Walz appealing FEMA's decision to deny federal aid to MN after riots

The damage is estimated at over $500 million.
Screen Shot 2020-04-17 at 2.58.26 PM

Minnesota is officially asking the federal government to reconsider helping the state rebuild after this year's civil unrest.

Last month, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) denied Minnesota's request for financial aid, leaving it to the state to handle the extensive property damage left by the Twin Cities riots. 

On Friday, Gov. Tim Walz (D) announced that he's appealing that decision, saying "the need for support from our federal partners is more important than ever.”

According to a release from Walz's office, the fires, looting and vandalism that came in the wake of George Floyd's death caused over $500 million in damage, with nearly 1,500 Twin Cities damaged or destroyed.

“The magnitude of this event was severe, and Minnesotans are hurting," Walz said in the statement. "We are asking our national leadership to join us in our efforts to help our communities to recover."

In his initial July 2 request to President Donald Trump for help, which you can read right here, Walz noted that the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic had strained the state's resources, with a projected surplus of $1.5 billion turning into a deficit of nearly $4 billion. 

But when the request for help was denied about a week later, FEMA explained that a "thorough review" had found that "the impact to public infrastructure is within the capabilities of the local and state governments to recover from," per an MPR report. 

The station notes that the denial came a day after Rep. Tom Emmer (R) "sent a letter to Trump and other federal officials "raising questions about the request."

Emmer, who represents Minnesota's 6th District, included in that letter a request that the Trump Administration "undertake a thorough and concurrent review of my state's response to the violence."

Despite the denial of FEMA aid, there is still federal help available to small businesses impacted by the rioting. 

A Wednesday release from Walz's office announced that such businesses are now able to apply for disaster assistance through the U.S. Small Business Administration.

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