Feds Refuse to Pay for Storm Damage

Thursday, Jun 23, 2011  |  Updated 8:39 AM PDT
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Federal officials have rejected California's request for a disaster declaration that would have helped recovery from a series of March storms.

State officials asked the Federal Emergency Management Agency for help in dealing with $44.5 million in damage across 17 counties caused by storms from March 15 to 27.

The damage included $17 million from Santa Cruz County, which was hit by rockslides and flash floods that filled the streets of downtown Capitola.

FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate explained in a Tuesday letter to Gov. Jerry Brown that his agency determined the storms were three separate events that affected different parts of the state at different times. Fugate also determined that handling the storm damage was "not beyond the combined capabilities" of state and local governments.

State emergency officials say Brown will decide whether to file an appeal, due within 30 days.

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