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Disaster declaration, and federal $$$ that come with it, sought for storm-damaged counties

WASHINGTON — Minnesota lawmakers are seeking a federal disaster declaration for seven counties ravaged by a tornado and high winds, a declaration that could bring with it up to $35 million in federal aid.

Gov. Tim Pawlenty sent a letter to President Obama today requesting the funds for the seven counties — Faribault, Freeborn, Olmsted, Otter Tail, Polk, Steele and Wadena. It was followed by a similar appeal signed by Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken and Reps. Jim Oberstar, Collin Peterson and Tim Walz.

Eighteen tornados reportedly touched down during the storms, which killed three people.

A decision on a presidential disaster declaration will be made after reviewing a damage assessment by the state and by FEMA, which has recently been completed.

The last federal disaster declared in the state (for flooding earlier this spring in northwest Minnesota) came about a month after the incidents occured. No timetable has yet been set for a decision on this request.

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