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FEMA to back 90% of Joplin cleanup

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President Obama has approved a Missouri application seeking federal funding to cover expedited debris removal in parts of Joplin that were affected by the May 22 tornado.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, assisted by the Corps of Engineers, will pay for 90 percent of cleanup costs in areas that received "catastrophic or extensive damage from the devastating tornado," according to a news release from Gov. Jay Nixon's office.

Scott Holste, Nixon's press secretary, said via e-mail that a cost estimate for debris removal has not yet been determined.

"Because of the sheer volume of storm-generated debris, much of it will need to be removed from the Joplin area by rail, rather than trucks, to get it to landfills," Holste said. "The state will determine where the remaining nonfederal 10 percent of the cost will come from, but that determination has not yet been made."

According to the release, Nixon has directed a National Guard team dubbed Task Force Phoenix, led by Col. William Ward, to head the debris removal effort.

"The Missouri National Guard has been working nonstop to respond to this disaster from the first day, and this 90 percent federal funding will be of great assistance as we work through the challenge of removing a vast amount of debris and rebuilding this community," Nixon said in the release, noting that Missouri's application was approved on Memorial Day.

In a May 27 letter to Obama, U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt asked for a 100 percent reimbursement rate for Joplin, referring to areas that received that amount of funding after Hurricane Katrina.

"The level of damage by any standard is extraordinary," Blunt wrote in the letter. "Joplin and the entire state of Missouri appreciate your administration’s quick response to this unprecedented disaster."[[In-content Ad]]


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