The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

February 12, 2014

FEMA denies W.Va.'s request for emergency protective measures, Gov. to appeal


For The Register-Herald

CHARLESTON — West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin on Wednesday announced that he is appealing a decision by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to deny West Virginia's request for emergency protective measures through the emergency declaration issued in response to the Kanawha Valley water crisis.

FEMA Deputy Associate Administrator Elizabeth A. Zimmerman informed Tomblin in a Monday letter, "Based on our review of all of the information available, it has been determined that the event was not of such severity and magnitude as to warrant grant assistance under this emergency declaration."

"I am extremely disappointed by FEMA's initial response, and I share the frustration and anger of West Virginians who have endured this crisis," Tomblin said. "I have personally contacted FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate to express my concern over this decision. We are committed to providing the detail necessary to demonstrate the assistance needed by the public safety agencies that have provided support to citizens since this crisis struck more than one month ago."

Sen. Joe Manchin said: "It has been more than a month since this disastrous chemical spill tainted 300,000 West Virginians' drinking water and there are still countless questions left unanswered. It is bad enough that hundreds of thousands of people continue to worry about the potential long-term health effects of these chemicals, they shouldn't have to also worry about the economic impact to their families' bottom lines, their businesses and their communities.”

West Virginia has 30 days to file its appeal.