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Federal Deadline Pushed Back 60 Days To Remove Mountains of Hurricane Debris in Territory

WASHINGTON — President Donald J. Trump on Thursday made additional disaster assistance available to the territory by authorizing an extension of increased federal funding for debris removal and emergency protective measures, including direct federal assistance, under the Public Assistance program.  The extension applies to the major disaster declarations for Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

On September 26, 2017, President Trump authorized a 100 percent federal cost share for debris removal and emergency protective measures, including direct Federal assistance, for 180 days from the start of the incident period for Hurricane Irma.

On October 3, 2017, President Trump authorized a 100 percent Federal cost share for debris removal and emergency protective measures, including direct Federal assistance, for 180 days from the start of the incident period for Hurricane Maria.

Under the President’s order yesterday, the time periods for 100 percent Federal funding for debris removal and emergency protective measures, including direct Federal assistance, have been extended for 60 days.

The U.S. Virgin Islands is in a quagmire because it can’t handle all the trash and debris since Hurricanes Irma and Maria struck.

Gov. Kenneth Mapp wanted to burn it, but backed off under intense pressure from local environmentalists.

The Legislature voted to prohibit its burning.

The landfills on the islands are already overloaded with trash. And the debris that exists now is a massive fire hazard as the dry season continues.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers applied for Department of Planning and Natural Resources (DPNR) permits to burn it, but didn’t act on them.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) wanted to burn it and/or transport it to landfills on the mainland, but U.S. states can’t allow it to be shipped there because the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) won’t allow it because of regulations on invasive species (plants and insects).

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy has been reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands since 1989. He is originally from Detroit, Michigan.

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