Tuesday News: Here come the bulldozers


DESPITE PENDING LAWSUITS, ATLANTIC COAST PIPELINE CONSTRUCTION UNDERWAY: Land is being cleared in Cumberland County for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, but opponents still hope to stop the project. Bridget Munger, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Environmental Quality, said company officials received a stormwater permit for the contractor’s yard in Cumberland County last month. “They have received the required environmental permits and approvals to proceed with work on the project,” she said. Aaron Ruby, a spokesman for Dominion Energy, said the company building the pipeline also has gotten the needed federal permits. “We’re moving full steam ahead,” he said. Mac Legerton, a Robeson County minister who opposes the pipeline, said two lawsuits — one each in federal court and state court — are challenging the project. “This situation is long from over,” he said.

MUCH OF RECENT NEUSE RIVER FLOODING COULD HAVE BEEN PREVENTED: WRAL Investigates found a long history of talk to fix the river's flooding problems, but very little action has been taken on the state and federal level. As far back as 1965, a district engineer for the Army Corps of Engineers found "there is an immediate and urgent need for improvements to provide flood protection" for those along the Neuse River. The study identified 13 reservoir sites in the river basin to control flooding. Fifty-three years later, two sites – Falls Lake in Wake County and the Buckhorn Reservoir in Wilson – are operational. "I wish they had executed, that and maybe we wouldn't have the losses that we've had," said Rep. John Bell, R-Wayne. John Dorman, director North Carolina's Floodplain Mapping Program, said it's time to take projects off of paper and put them to use. "The amount of damage that would occur from flooding would be greater than what the cost would be for actually building these reservoirs or other strategies."

NON-HURRICANE RAINFALL CLOSES NUMEROUS ROADS IN TRIANGLE: Downed trees, weather-related crashes and impassable roads were reported Tuesday following steady, heavy overnight rain. Major road closures in Wake County include: Capital Boulevard at Peace Street. Atlantic Avenue at Hodges. NC-50 south of Norwood. NC-97 at US-264. Piney Grove Wilbon Road at Spence Farm Road, Creedmoor Road at Mattlyn Court. Mangum Dairy Road between Kimi Road and Brayer Path Road. Major road closures in Durham County include: Left lanes in both directions on I-40 flooded near Exit 274 for NC-751. Snow Hill Road between Toredge Road and Infinity Road. Moores Mill Road at the Person County line. Old Oxford Road between Cassum Road and Lake Michie Dam Road. Scott King Road at Grandale Drive. Major road closures in Orange County: S. Estes Drive at Fordham Boulevard.

TRUMP'S APPOINTMENT OF WHITAKER AS ACTING AG CHALLENGED BY STATE OF MARYLAND: In the days since President Trump ousted Attorney General Jeff Sessions and declared that he was installing Matthew G. Whitaker as the acting attorney general, many critics have challenged Mr. Whitaker’s fitness for the job. Some have gone further, calling his very appointment illegal. Now, Mr. Whitaker’s appointment is facing a court challenge. The State of Maryland is expected to ask a federal judge on Tuesday for an injunction declaring that Mr. Whitaker is not the legitimate acting attorney general as a matter of law, and that the position — and all its powers — instead rightfully belongs to the deputy attorney general, Rod J. Rosenstein. Mr. Trump may not “bypass the constitutional and statutory requirements for appointing someone to that office,” the plaintiffs said in a draft filing obtained by The New York Times.

CALIFORNIA'S "CAMP" FIRE IS NOW THE DEADLIEST IN STATE'S HISTORY: Forty-four people have died since three wildfires broke out late last week. And countless other residents narrowly escaped with their lives, their close calls never to be forgotten. Allyn Pierce was trapped by a wall of fire as he tried to flee the flames coming closer and closer to his truck. Chris Gonzalez counted the ever-narrowing escape routes from his home as the highlands around him erupted into flames. Rebecca Hackett was engulfed by a red-orange hellscape as she sped toward safety in her car. The Camp Fire, which erupted in Northern California on Thursday, has killed at least 42 people and burned through 117,000 acres of land. Already the most destructive fire in the state’s history, it remained just 30 percent contained as of Monday night.