Why Washington County was left off FEMA disaster declaration list

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) approved a federal disaster declaration for 22 counties in Minnesota impacted by flooding, but not yet for Washington County. 

U.S. Rep. Angie Craig, who represents Minnesota's Second Congressional District, joined FOX 9 on Sunday morning to discuss FEMA's disaster declaration.

Washington County – which is bordered by the St. Croix River and Mississippi River - was not included in FEMA's disaster declaration. However, state officials have said assessments are ongoing and other counties and other forms of assistance may be added following the assessments' completion. 

"I think Washington County will be added to the list," Craig said, noting she visited Grey Cloud Island in Washington County, where access to the island has been cut off due to flooding. She also noted there's a lot of debris that needs to be cleaned up. "I do believe the cost of cleanup, the cost of mitigation, is going to exceed what it needs to exceed for federal assistance."

There are currently 20 other counties under review for federal disaster declaration funds.

READ MORE: Live updates: Minnesota flooding latest

Craig said she's asked for all five of the counties she represents to be included in the federal disaster declaration. Le Seuer and Rice counties are on the list, but Craig says she's seeking Washington, Scott and Dakota counties to be added as well, because they have all been impacted by flooding.

FEMA's disaster declaration in Minnesota

The purpose of a federal disaster declaration is to provide resources to reimburse communities for debris removal, emergency protective measures as well as repair and replacement of damaged infrastructure, according to government officials.

The approved counties as of Saturday, June 29, include the following: 

  • Blue Earth
  • Carver
  • Cass
  • Cook
  • Cottonwood
  • Faribault
  • Fillmore
  • Freeborn
  • Goodhue
  • Jackson
  • Lake
  • Le Sueur
  • Murray
  • Nobles
  • Pipestone
  • Rice
  • Rock
  • St. Louis
  • Steele
  • Wabasha
  • Waseca
  • Watonwan

Gov. Walz released the following statement on FEMA's approval: 

"I’ve seen the damage across our state firsthand – it’s going to take a united effort at every level of government to quickly rebuild and recover. This assistance is going to make all the difference in that recovery. I’m grateful to our partners in the federal government for doing their part, just as Minnesotans have done theirs, filling tens of thousands of sandbags, checking in on their neighbors, and volunteering their time."