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Published: Friday, 6/25/2010

Governor to appeal FEMA's rejection of tornado-related aid

BLADE COLUMBUS BUREAU

COLUMBUS — Gov. Ted Strickland said Friday he will immediately urge a federal agency to rethink its rejection of his request for a major disaster declaration for three northwest Ohio counties.

As a fallback, he has asked the federal Small Business Administration to begin the process of making loans available to help the region in its recovery.

Specifically, the governor took issue with the Federal Emergency Management Agency's contention that the damage was "not of such severity and magnitude as to be beyond the capabilities of the State, affected local governments, and voluntary agencies" to respond to the destruction from tornados on June 5 and 6.

The storms killed six people and cut a swath of destruction through Fulton, Wood, and Ottawa counties.

"Anyone who takes the time to walk among the wreckage will see not only the sheer physical devastation, but also the indestructible determination of the men, women, and especially the children in these Ohio communities," Mr. Strickland said.

"That gives us the greatest hope for the region's recovery," he said. "But that recovery requires a full and faithful partnership from our federal partners as well."

FEMA had given the governor 30 days to appeal the decision and submit additional information to President Barack Obama via the agency's regional administrator in Chicago.



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