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SANTA CLARA, UT - Utah Governor Gary R. Herbert today declared a State of Emergency for Utah and signed a letter requesting President Barack Obama issue a presidential disaster declaration for the state due to the recent flooding in southern Utah. If approved by the President, Utah would become eligible for federal disaster assistance for public infrastructure.

"My heart goes out to the local residents and families who were impacted by this terrible tragedy," said Utah Governor Gary R. Herbert. "Recovering from disasters and rebuilding public infrastructure takes partnerships and cooperation. The State of Utah deeply appreciates first responders, local county officials, the countless and inspiring volunteers, as well as FEMA's efforts to help Santa Clara assess the damage so we can begin to rebuild what we have lost."

"This is one of the critical steps in assuring that federal assistance is provided to the communities impacted by the flooding in Santa Clara," said Keith Squires, Director of the Utah Department of Public Safety's Division of Emergency Management (DEM).

On Sept. 11, the Laub Dam gave way, sending a torrent of water into Santa Clara, damaging 66 homes, 18 businesses and various elements of public infrastructure, including gravel roads, sidewalks, sewer lines and golf courses.

DEM staff worked closely with FEMA officials to draft the letter. According to preliminary damage assessments completed by a joint team from FEMA, the state and local agencies, it appears the affected areas of Santa Clara, Ivins and St. George suffered $3.9 million in eligible damages to public infrastructure. Damage to homes and businesses is not eligible for the type of assistance Utah is seeking.

If the president approves the State's request for a presidential disaster declaration, a FEMA team would return to identify and approve eligible projects. State and/or local agencies must match 25 percent of the total federal assistance package.

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