Updated: Disaster Status Sought for Valley

Five days after filing it, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger was still awaiting some response from the White House to his request for a federal disaster declaration, to address drought conditions in Fresno County.

Meanwhile, the Washington bureau of the McClatchy newspaper chain (which includes the Fresno Bee) reports that the request is something of a longshot.

The Governor made the request last Friday, one day after he faced a tense gathering in Fresno, where water issues upstaged even the precarious condition of state finances, and shortly after a meeting with farmers in Mendota.

The governor has had a standing statewide drought emergency in effect since February. Friday he signed an executive order freeing up state resources to help ease drought-related impacts. A federal declaration would allow affected businesses to apply for federal aid. President Obama has since signed several other disaster declarations last week, in response to storms in Missouri, wildfires in Oklahoma and other incidents.