State still has chance to do right thing on disaster declaration

We would like to see Gov. Rick Snyder reconsider his recent decision to deny a request to declare a state of disaster or emergency for Marquette County.

The severe impact this record-breaking cold has had on our county is real. The problem is that there are not visible signs of the impact that this cold weather has had on us. If it were a flood or tornado, one would see more obvious visible signs of the impact the situation has had on Marquette County.

The result from the severe weather is primarily underground in the form of frozen pipes. The lack of water for residents with frozen pipes is a health risk and provides a real danger to those affected by the lack of water.

The costs to cities, townships and the county dealing with the frozen pipes are very real and without financial support this means other services won’t have funding when needed, which could also adversely impact our county.

We were happy to see our local elected officials meeting recently with Republic Township Supervisor Gary Johnson to learn of the impact this severe winter has had on his township.

State representatives Scott Dianda, D-Calumet, John Kivela, D-Marquette and Ed McBroom, R-Vulcan and state Sen. Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba, met with local officials in Ishpeming to discuss the impact this crisis is having on Marquette County.

Ishpeming Department of Public Works Superintendent Jon Kangas, during a short presentation to our elected officials said, “We feel we have a genuine human crisis.”

We agree with Kangas and we hope that a group making a presentation in Lansing next week to the senate committee on Natural Resources, Environment and Great Lakes, which Casperson chairs, will listen closely and look beyond the obvious signs that a natural disaster typically leaves.

If you look below ground, in the homes of the people without water, and consider the costs associated with dealing with this weather-related disaster, the disaster or emergency declaration should be reconsidered.

In addition to financial assistance, the state of emergency would allow Michigan National Guard units to pitch in and help with additional welders and manpower that is greatly needed.

The Upper Peninsula and Marquette County usually fields all the curve balls thrown at them without asking for any special help or assistance. We are used to handling adversity and the people of the U.P. take pride in taking care of themselves.

In this case however, we feel this is an extreme situation and one that should get the support of Gov. Rick Snyder. We urge the governor to take another look at making the declaration of a state of emergency to help us move through this crisis.

At the end of the day, it is the right thing to do.