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Feds Blast Michigan’s Unpreparedness For Soviet Nuke Attack

August 11, 1986

DETROIT (AP) _ Federal officials are pressing Michigan to step up its preparations for a Soviet nuclear attack or face a loss of its civil defense funding, a newspaper reports.

Most of the state’s $4.4 million civil defense budget for this year is geared toward natural disaster relief, putting it at odds with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Detroit News said Sunday.

An agency spokeswoman said Michigan might have to spend millions of dollars to correct what she called inadequacies in its nuclear readiness.

″Their peacetime preparedness is much better than their war-related,″ said Laura Buchbinder. ″When you’re dealing with a nuclear attack situation, you’re dealing with a much bigger problem.″

FEMA Director Julius Becton has threatened Michigan and other states with cutbacks in federal civil defense money if they fail to spend more on ways to respond to nuclear attack, the News said.

The agency plans to issue new, nationwide directives on civil defense within the next two months, FEMA spokesman Dave McLoughlin said.

Becton’s complaints against Michigan were based on a report prepared for FEMA by the Emergency Management Division of the Michigan State Police. The report was prepared in June and the News obtained a copy.

″There is a lack of warning equipment, blast protection, shelter space and knowledge among the general public,″ said Duane Trombly, head of the state emergency management division.

Trombly said military intelligence reports list 22 Michigan sites, including military bases and cities, among 400 strategic sites targeted nationwide by the Soviet Union.

The Michigan assessment prepared for FEMA said the state lacks operating procedures for evacuations, emergency communications or providing medical care after a nuclear attack, the News said.

An aide to Gov. James Blanchard defended the need to devote civil defense money to natural disasters.

″We have programs now, like flood relief, where the state will be losing a lot of money,″ said Candace Avery, Blanchard’s coordinator for emergency management. ″We’re busy trying to keep natural-disaster relief funds at a fair level.″

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