CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin is once again appealing to the federal government for assistance following the Jan. 9 chemical leak into the Elk River and the water emergency that followed in parts of nine West Virginia counties.
Tomblin sent a letter Thursday to President Barack Obama appealing the decision to reject the state’s application for a major disaster declaration.
“I dispute the determination that this water crisis does not meet the legal definition of a ‘major disaster,'” Tomblin wrote in a one-page letter. “The effects of the leaching of thousands of gallons of Crude MCHM into the water supply of 300,000 West Virginians were compounded by the extreme weather experienced in January and February of this year. The extraordinarily harsh winter caused an unprecedented number of water pipes to burst, which significantly hindered the recovery process and prolonged the water outage.”
The state has already been awarded public assistance in connection with the water emergency allowing most government agencies that responded to the crisis to be reimbursed up to 75 percent of what was spent.