CHARLESTON, W.Va. — In a letter to President Barack Barack Obama Friday, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin said the Jan. 9 Elk River chemical spill and resulting nine-county water emergency caused $61 million in estimated losses to the economy.

The governor is seeking a federal disaster declaration from the President and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

“Please accept this letter as a formal request that you declare a major disaster for the State of West Virginia,” the letter said.

(Read letter here)

The letter goes on to list specific costs of the emergency which the governor dates from Jan. 9 through Jan. 20.

“The flooding of the chemical Crude MCHM into the water supply of 300,000 customers was unprecedented, and received national and internal attention,” the governor wrote. “The threats to health and safety were immediate, and the impact of the spill has been continuous.”

The state received immediate help with bottled water from FEMA when the emergency began but a federal disaster declaration has been more difficult to gain. The governor had to appeal original roadblocks put up by FEMA.

“A declaration of a major disaster and associated further assistance will lessen our significant financial burden, and will enable us to continue to respond to each new aspect of this event as it arises,” Tomblin said in his letter to the President.



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  • rick

    I guess the fact that the President approved FEMA stocks of water and other assistance immediately after the incident occurred was lost on everyone commenting here. This was a non-traditional incident and the public did not have enough damages to qualify for FEMA reimbursement. Sounds like the folks who do not like government intervention have their hands out again.

  • Hillbilly

    First of all , Oboma has to check with the Chinese Government and see if they will lend him that much money , then he will want a certain number of mines closed .

  • Bubba1946

    What do Jay & Nick Joe have to say about this ?

  • Me

    Why was this not done sooner?

  • Me

    Yup, pretty much

  • ViennaGuy

    I will be surprised if the request is approved. Obama has made it rather clear that West Virginia is beneath him, nevermind that he is supposed to be president of all the people.

  • Fed Up

    Obama is racist. Hence no money for us. If we were black or were unemployed he'd be there with his checkbook pronto.

  • winston

    don't expect any thing till basketball season is over.

  • wayne root

    Mojo and Boss Hog is going to make it happen

  • Aaron

    Earl Ray and Joe are West Virginia democrats, not national Democrats. Of the most humilating losses in his two Presidential elections, two came in West Virginia.

    What's worse is his most humiliating defeat came in the one race he did win when a Texas inmate got 40% of the West Virginia democratic vote.

    He is not going to give this state anything.

    • Benthere

      Also proves the educational level in West Virginia. There low and there is West Virginia.
      Voting for an inmate.

      • Aaron

        I completely disagree, as do that facts. In a poll conducted after 44% of West Virginian Democrats voted for Keith Judd, 3 out of 4 were not even aware that he was a prison inmate from Texas.

        All they knew is that is name was not Obama. It was not a vote for Judd, it was a vote against Obama.

        The fact that he turned out to be an inmate was irony at it's finest.

        • Kiddkornbred

          Aaron I actually will fight with you this time. Had nothing to do with uneducated I think West Virginians would've voted for Rich Rodriguezbjust to prove a point

        • Ninthgate

          The facts are West Virginians voted for someone and didn't know their back ground. Wouldn't be to proud of that. Plus West Virginia has some of the lowest voter turnout in the country. Those are some facts that makes you proud.

          • Aaron

            As Viennaguy said, and as I said above, the vote was a protest against President Obama.

            Given the President's policies have hurt WV more than other states, I would think it is understandable why so many West Virginia Democrats voted against him.

            Were I a West Virginia Democrat that could be affiliated with Barrack Obama in any way, I would be nervous.

          • ViennaGuy

            It was a protest vote against Obama. It's not that hard to understand ...

        • Benthere

          Yes and it's the very reason West Virginia is dead last in everything. Deseving of our national image. Just read the threads.

          • Aaron

            What is the very reason WV is last in everything. Your post makes little sense. Are you trying to illustrate some sort of uneducated response as an example of why WV is last in many economic categories?

  • RogerD

    Will be interesting to see how this plays out. On one hand, Obama despises WV. On the other hand Earl Ray is a fellow Democrat as is Manchin unless he wants to sprout his "no labels" wings.

    • CM

      It's the other way around. WV despises and hates Obama.

  • knows

    Omit Jordan.. trying to use voice text

  • knows

    who the hell does everybody thinks pay for ot when the government declares a disaster?.... just like everything else the taxpayers!! the government Jordan doesn't just have money laying around waiting for stuff to happen

  • Worm

    Asking Obama for help! Say it ain't so Earl Ray!

    • Worm

      The same president Obama that has a war on coal, pro-choice, anti guns, Obamacare and in general every candidate is running from. Plus, WV Metro news makes their bones off the anti Obama stance every day. That president Obama? Wake me up.....can't be happening, I'm overdosing on tap water.

      • T.

        Very good, Worm!

    • Early Bird

      It's the process. That's what the Governor is supposed to do in an effort to get federal aid.