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Whitmer urges feds to boost help to Michigan businesses hurt by lack of snow

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer
(Gints Ivuskans /
  • Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is urging Congress to create new ways that businesses impacted by lack of snow can get financial relief 
  • In a letter to congressional and agency leaders, the governor said ‘regulatory or legislative solutions’ are needed
  • Last month, the U.S. declared a drought in more than 40 Michigan counties, making businesses eligible for emergency SBA loans

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is seeking more ways for businesses impacted by the unseasonably warm winter to get federal relief. 

In a letter to congressional leaders and the heads of the U.S. Small Business Administration and Federal Emergency Management Agency, Whitmer called the unseasonably warm winter a “unique and likely increasing problem affecting winter tourism industries across the Midwest.”


She urged the leaders to develop regulations or legislation that will allow businesses that rely on winter activities to seek federal aid when there is an “exceptionally warm winter” with little to no snow. 


“There is no denying it – we are facing an unprecedented problem resulting in a devastating impact on our businesses and regional economies,” Whitmer wrote.

In March, the U.S. Department of Agriculture declared a drought in more than 40 Michigan counties. Businesses in these counties were eligible for emergency SBA loans.

“I appreciate the federal government working with us to deliver financial relief to businesses in 43 counties around the state,”  Whitmer said in a news release. “However, this solution left out many counties that truly need assistance, which is why I’m asking the federal government to create new paths of federal relief for all impacted.” 

Eligible small businesses can apply for loans of up to $2 million from the SBA. The application deadline for most counties is Sept. 26. Business owners can contact the SBA for more information

Events canceled

Several annual events in the northern Lower Peninsula and the Upper Peninsula were canceled this year due to the lack of snow, including the CopperDog 150 sled dog race in the Keweenaw Peninsula and the Tahquamenon Country Sled Dog Race in Newberry. Many ski resorts either couldn’t open all of their slopes or had to close early for the season. 

Whitmer noted that snowfall levels were also down this year in Wisconsin and Minnesota.

“We know climate change will only exacerbate this issue in future years, and there needs to be reliable and well-tailored programs to help in those cases,” Whitmer said. 

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