Feds say no to Minnesota aid request for protest clean-up costs
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) said it has rejected Minnesota’s application for federal disaster relief to help clean up after the George Floyd protests.
“After a thorough review of Minnesota’s request for a major disaster declaration from extensive fire damage as a result of civil unrest in late May and early June, it was determined that the impact to public infrastructure is within the capabilities of the local and state governments to recover from. The governor has 30 days to appeal that decision,” FEMA said in a statement supplied to Minnesota’s Public Radio.
The state was looking for $15 million in federal disaster relief, but it estimates that Minneapolis has losses that total $500 million from the protests that saw widespread looting, arson and violence.
“Hundreds of buildings in the Twin Cities were destroyed by fires, looted or damaged during the nightly protests following Floyd’s May 25 death beneath the knee of a white Minneapolis cop,” reports the New York Daily News.
“A local police precinct was among the structures torched during the demonstrations.”
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) sent a letter to President Trump on July 2 asking for federal help in the clean-up, saying that the damage to the city was the second costliest in U.S. history due to civil unrest after the Los Angeles riots of 1992.
However, Minnesota Republican, U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer, also sent a letter to President Trump, asking the administration to review the inaction of state and city officials in making a final decision as to the state’s eligibility to get federal disaster funds.
Throughout the violent protests, progressives inside the city of Minneapolis and the state of Minnesota permitted rioters to destroy property, set fires, loot, rob and commit other acts of violence and destruction while authorities in the city looked on.
Emmer’s letter says that so far, there has been no federal analysis that has looked into what the city and state did or didn’t do to prevent the widespread destruction that took place during the protests.
Saying that the federal government took decisive action to prevent the protests, Emmer said in a statement: “Now that a formal request for federal assistance has been made to rebuild the Twin Cities, the federal government has an obligation to help everyone understand how almost half-a-billion dollars worth of damage was done before peace was restored.”
Walz says that the state is already facing severe budget shortfalls due to COVID-19 shutdowns.
“In making the request for help, Walz had noted that the financial challenge had been made even harder by the impacts on the state budget from the coronavirus pandemic. A projected $1.5 billion budget surplus in February was soon wiped out by a projected $2.4 billion revenue shortfall, he wrote to in the request to President Trump via FEMA,” says Minnesota Public Radio.
Walz has 30 days to appeal the FEMA decision.
PHOTO: LEN STUBBE – STAR TRIBUNE
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