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FEMA: Black Hawk Sinkholes Don’t Qualify For Federal Aid

BLACK HAWK, S.D. (AP) – FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, will not provide financial help to the residents of a Black Hills subdivision threatened by sinkholes from an abandoned gypsum mine that appeared in late April.

Meade County and the state had discussed applying for money from the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program to help the owners of the dozen homes in Black Hawk damaged or declared unsafe because of the sinkholes, but FEMA says the sinkholes don’t qualify as a “natural disaster” or “natural event.”

FEMA also says it can’t act because there are “unresolved issues” over negligence lawsuits that in part claim Meade County allowed development of the subdivision when officials knew the abandoned mine lay beneath the site.