Federal funding freeze could impact Hurricane Matthew cleanup on HHI

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, SC (WTOC) - The Lowcountry is feeling the impact of another executive order signed by President Donald Trump.

The president placed a freeze on funding from the EPA and USDA, which have been vital for Hurricane Matthew recovery on Hilton Head Island.

Those USDA grants include $500,000 awarded to the town of Hilton Head for debris removal from drainage systems and lagoons like this one.

So far, the town head has racked up a $50 million price tag post-Matthew, with most of the expenses coming from debris removal.

The town has cleared close to two million cubic yards of debris just from the roadways since the storm, and there's still some work to do. The town received a million dollars for debris removal in areas like drainage systems and lagoons, but that recent executive order has put a hold on those funds.

"It's actually removing the blockages, the trees and the down debris and anything else that may have gone and clogged up these drainage ways. At the moment it's an inconvenience. If we have some heavy, heavy rains it might cause some renewed flooding or new flooding and that's more of our concern when it comes to some of this stuff," said Hilton Head Island Town Manager Steve Riley.

The town is unsure of when or if those funds will become available. They are hoping FEMA will be able to come up with additional options to cover those costs.

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