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Feds reject individual flooding aid

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Federal officials today rejected Minnesota's request to financially help individuals affected by last month's floods in the northeastern part of the state.

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"It has been determined that the damage to dwellings from this event was not of such severity and magnitude as to warrant" establishing federal programs to help individuals, Administer Craig Engate of the Federal Emergency Management Agency wrote to Gov. Mark Dayton.

Engate said the state may appeal the decision within 30 days.

Dayton spokesman Bob Hume said the governor is disappointed with the decision "and is currently working with state agencies to explore next steps."

The request was for people who live in St. Louis, Aitkin, Crow Wing, Lake and Pine counties as well as for those in the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa.

The federal government earlier declared 13 counties in the northeast and just south of the Twin Cities as disaster areas from last month's floods. That decision will provide federal aid to pay local governments, but does not provide help to individuals.

Dayton has said that even if Washington would establish individual aid programs, they generally provide far less assistance than people need.

The Legislature is expected to meet next month to approve funds for local governments' storm work, but lawmakers usually do not appropriate funds for private citizens or businesses.

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