May 12, 2009
Governor's action enables Department of Natural Resources to waive rules for 33 Missouri counties affected by the May 8 storms
Gov. Nixon issues order to expedite storm cleanup
Gov. Jay Nixon leads a roundtable briefing with local leaders, emergency management officials and law enforcement personnel on May 12, 2009, in Fredericktown to discuss the coordinated state and local response to the damaging storms of May 8. Following the briefing, Gov. Nixon toured storm damage in the area and thanked volunteers at an emergency feeding center and shelter.
JEFFERSON CITY - Gov. Jay Nixon today took additional action to help Missourians cleaning up after the severe storms last week. The Governor issued an executive order to allow temporary waiving of any statutes or administrative rules and regulations in order to serve the interests of public health and safety. Immediately after the Governor's order, DNR Director Mark Templeton waived rules regarding burning of downed tree limbs and brush for 33 Missouri counties affected by the strong storm system. Additional counties may be added later.
"This storm system left a wide path of destruction in southern Missouri, from the Kansas side to the Illinois side," Gov. Nixon said. "Thousands of Missouri residents, along with businesses, utilities and local governments, are dealing with a great deal of tree limbs and other debris. I want to ensure that this cleanup can be expedited as much as possible. Adjusting certain environmental rules and regulations on a short-term basis under these extraordinary circumstances is necessary to do this."
The executive order, 09-20, will terminate on June 8, 2009 unless extended.
Gov. Nixon has sent joint federal and state damage assessment teams to 33 counties in southern Missouri that were affected by the storm system that brought tornadoes, straight line winds and flash flooding. The teams will canvass areas with local officials, verifying damage to homes and businesses from the storm to support the Governor's request for Federal Disaster Assistance. The counties to be visited are Barry, Barton, Bollinger, Camden, Cape Girardeau, Christian, Dade, Dallas, Dent, Douglas, Greene, Howell, Iron, Jasper, Jefferson, Laclede, Lawrence, Madison, Newton, Ozark, Perry, Polk, Reynolds, Ripley, St. Francois, Ste. Genevieve, Shannon, Stone, Texas, Vernon, Washington, Webster and Wright.
The joint damage assessment teams are comprised of representatives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), the Small Business Administration (SBA) and local government. Gov. Nixon said the teams initially will look at losses in these 33 counties, but additional counties may be added to the joint damage assessment visits as local damage information becomes available.
On Friday, Gov. Nixon declared a state of emergency, which activated the State Emergency Operations Center to aid local communities with resource requests. On May 9, the Governor conducted an aerial and ground assessment of some of the hardest hit areas of southwest Missouri, with stops in Carl Junction and Fair Grove. He was joined by Missouri Department of Public Safety Director John M. Britt; Brig. Gen. Stephen Danner, Adjutant General of the Missouri National Guard; and Col. James Keathley, superintendent of the Missouri State Highway Patrol.