Gov. Walz appeals FEMA decision to deny aid after civil unrest

Gov. Tim Walz on Friday announced he is appealing the federal government’s decision to deny a major disaster declaration to help Minnesota rebuild from the rioting that broke out after George Floyd’s death in police custody.

The Governor requested funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency on July 2. That request was denied on July 10.

Walz requested funding specifically to help rebuild public infrastructure that had been damaged in the civil unrest starting on May 27.

In a news release, Walz cited the Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, which states that fires to public infrastructure, regardless of cause, are eligible for federal reimbursement.

According to the governor’s office, a preliminary assessment discovered more than $15 million of eligible damages directly related to fires.

“As we navigate one of the most difficult periods in our state’s history, the need for support from our federal partners is more important than ever,” Walz said in a statement. “The magnitude of this event was severe, and Minnesotans are hurting. We are asking our national leadership to join us in our efforts to help our communities to recover.”

Earlier this week, Walz requested low-interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration to help businesses that were damaged in the unrest.

About 1,500 businesses were damaged by vandalism, fire or looting, and estimates of the damage exceed $500 million, Walz said.