Governor appeals after feds deny chemical spill help

CHARLESTON (AP) — West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin is urging federal officials to reconsider denying extra financial assistance after a January chemical spill.

In a letter Tuesday to federal emergency officials, Tomblin estimated a $61 million economic impact in the nine affected counties and a $72 million total impact.

The spill tainted 300,000 people’s water for days. Many residents have stuck to bottled water long after the water-use ban was lifted. Restaurants lost profits while shuttered during the ban.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency on Feb. 12 denied Tomblin’s request for reimbursement for first responders, nonprofits and public agencies that assisted during the spill.

FEMA said it determined additional assistance wasn’t warranted because certain costs associated with response and recovery efforts weren’t beyond the state and local governments’ response and recovery capabilities.

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