ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Missouri Senator Roy Blunt says he’s asking the federal government to reimburse 100 percent of the cost to local governments dealing with the Joplin tornado aftermath.
Blunt, who had an office in Joplin for 14 years, says he toured the town earlier this week and found it almost “unrecognizable” with a six-mile long swath wiped almost clean and lacking familiar landmarks except some knocked over street signs.
The latest death toll in Joplin is 126 and President Obama is scheduled to visit the town on Sunday.
In a phone conference with reporters Thursday, Blunt says he has asked Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to do more.
“I’m asking for 100 percent federal reimbursement to local governments,” Blunt said, “They’ve agreed to 75. I think they have to come to a better number than that, and the right number, I think, would be 100 percent.”When asked to rate the federal response to the Joplin disaster, Blunt gave generally good marks to FEMA, but noted that FEMA’s director didn’t show up in Joplin right away.
With the damage estimate in Joplin estimated from $2 to $3 billion, Blunt was asked if it’s possible insurance rates could be going up for all Missourians.
“Well, it could happen,” Blunt said, “I think there is generally a community rating for property damage. These tornados of this spring may very well be figured into that to some extent. I don’t think they’ll have great impact, because so much of the country can be affected by this kind of storms.”
Blunt was also asked if the steady procession of tornados and death this spring could be related to climate change.
“There’s always some pattern of climate change,” Blunt said, “I think it’s more likely that this is a year when the winter-spring transition just created this environment.”
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