Federal Government to Play Big Role in Joplin Debris Removal

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JEFFERSON CITY - Governor Jay Nixon said Tuesday the federal government will cover 90 percent of debris clean-up in the disaster-stricken Joplin.

The Missouri National Guard will lead the cleanup effort in Joplin. The guard formed Task Force Phoenix to be in charge of the debris removal.

Governor Nixon said the federal government will cover 90 percent of the expedited debris removal from areas that received extensive damage. That is the same proportion the federal government is paying for deadly tornadoes that hit Alabama last month.

Typically, the federal government pays 75 percent of cost of responding to disasters, with state and local governments picking up the rest.

Scott Holste, Press Secretary for Governor Nixon, said Tuesday that there is no time table for the debris cleanup. He did say the debris cleanup will be one of the biggest steps in restoring Joplin.

"One of the most massive tasks we face right now is the removal of millions of cubic yards of debris," said Holste. "Obviously this took out thousands of homes and businesses, it's almost an unimaginable scale."

Nixon said the debris removal will start on Wednesday.

U.S. Senator Roy Blunt, of Missouri, had asked the federal government to pay the full cost.