When neighbors are in trouble, West Virginians tend to go to their aid first and worry about the cost of assistance later. That is true in both the public and private sectors.
It is how people from throughout the state - and, we are grateful, from others - reacted when a chemical spill tainted water supplies for about 300,000 people in and near Kanawha County in January.
State officials have asked for federal grants to help both government agencies and nonprofit groups recover some of the money spent in that effort.
No way, the Federal Emergency Management Agency said in a letter to state officials. The chemical spill "was not of such severity and magnitude" to warrant federal assistance, FEMA officials wrote.
Not being able to drink or even bathe in water out of your tap for a week or more is pretty severe. Three hundred thousand people affected is disaster of substantial magnitude.
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and other state officials say they will appeal the FEMA rejection. Good. It should be reversed immediately - and the bureaucrat who made it ought to be forced to subsist on bottled water and sponge baths for about a week.