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State declares 30-day flood emergency declaration

ST. PAUL - A state board approved a 30-day emergency flood declaration this morning, a day before the Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator begins several days looking into area flooding.

Gov. Tim Pawlenty already had designated 28 Minnesota counties as flood emergency areas, but that only lasts for five days. Under state law, the Executive Council must approve longer disaster requests, which Pawlenty, Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, Attorney General Lori Swanson and Auditor Rebecca Otto did without debate this morning.

The designation allows the state to help flooded communities. By late morning, state officials had received 75 requests for aid, mostly for manpower provided by National Guard soldiers and airmen.

In St. Paul on Saturday, Pawlenty meets with FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, who will spend the early part of next week observing the Red River Valley flood fight. Pawlenty is to speak at the North Dakota Republican Party state convention in Grand Forks on Sunday, and while there he plans to meet with East Grand Forks and other area officials about flooding issues.

Pawlenty is spending much of this afternoon in the Moorhead area.

"It looks like they are as well prepared as they can be," Pawlenty said.

Davis reports for Forum Communications Co.