Tuesday News: Fighting disaster with more disaster


REPUBLICAN HURRICANE RELIEF WILL LIKELY CUT INTO OTHER PROGRAMS: Repairing the damage from Hurricanes Irma and Harvey could cost hundreds of billions of dollars at a time when Republicans in Congress are reluctant to spend much on anything, particularly without a way to pay for it. It could make passing disaster relief funding in the future a politically toxic exercise, even in the era of unified GOP government. Lawmakers last week sent legislation to the president’s desk providing more than $15 billion in storm relief funds, which the Federal Emergency Management Agency said should be sufficient to provide disaster relief for at least a few months. The measure may postpone the next debate over how much Congress should spend, but it doesn’t remove the possibility of a bitter political battle, with the administration expected to ask for as many as four emergency funding requests. “There’s nothing wrong with saying, ‘We’re running out of money so we’ll fill up the coffers,’ and coming back to the appropriations process later” to find offsets, Sanford explained. “It doesn’t have to be perfectly timed.”

HOMELAND SECURITY WARNS SOUTHEAST MAY SUFFER FUEL SHORTAGES IN WAKE OF STORMS: Federal officials are warning of possible fuel shortages in the Southeast because of hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Last week, the Homeland Security Department issued a week-long waiver on federal restrictions of foreign vessels so they could help distribute fuel. Officials noted this action should help, but urged patience. Christopher Krebs, head of infrastructure protection for the Homeland Security Department, told reporters Tuesday that Harvey took a "significant amount" of the nation's refining capacity offline and affected distribution. "As a result," he said, "there may be some fuel supply shortages throughout the Southeast."

TILLIS BABBLES SOMETHING ABOUT TAX REFORM BEING MORE IMPORTANT THAN DACA FIX: “I just never shook my eyes away from the shiny objects,” Tillis said when asked about his biggest priorities over the next few months. “We’ve got to work on health care, we’ve got to work on tax reform, we’ve got to work on infrastructure, we’ve got to be prepared to deal with disasters when they come up.” Absent from Tillis’ list: immigration. “We’ve got to come up with a solution...but we can’t all the sudden shift all of our focus and resources to this thing that needs to be accomplished because tax reform is that important. Immigration is up there but we can’t shift our focus away from the thing that may get the most headlines over the next week.”

NC STATE TROOPERS VIOLATE RESIDENCY REQUIREMENTS, THEN LIE ABOUT IT: The State Auditor's Office investigated a tip about violations of the residency policy and found eight troopers, including a major, two captains and three lieutenants, all lived at least 68 miles from their duty stations. One captain lived in Morganton and commuted 187 miles to his work in Wake County, according to the audit. All of the troopers initially denied commuting long distances, telling auditors that they maintained second residences near their duty stations. But reviews of fuel logs showed most of the patrol cars were gassed up near the troopers' primary residences during the week or on weekends, according to the audit. "By not enforcing the residency policy, management created an environment where subordinate troopers were able to rationalize noncompliance or completely disregard the policy," the audit states.

DUPONT/CHEMOURS AGREES TO PROVIDE INFORMATION ABOUT GENX AFTER BEING TAKEN TO COURT BY DEQ: North Carolina environmental officials and a chemical company that for years has discharged compounds with unknown health risks into a major drinking-water supply have a legal agreement that could increase what is known about the little-studied products. The Chemours Co. did not respond Monday to questions about the deal it reached in court late Friday with the state Department of Environmental Quality. The agreement commits the Wilmington, Delaware-based company to cooperating with the state investigation of chemical runoffs into the Cape Fear River. Chemours agrees it will turn over confidential business information to state and federal environmental officials once the company and North Carolina reach a confidentiality agreement.