RALEIGH — Gov. Roy Cooper Wednesday wrote to President Donald Trump urging him to end the ongoing federal government shutdown that Cooper said is interfering with North Carolina receiving funding for continued Hurricane Florence recovery efforts and threatening the state’s farming economy, the governor’s administration announced.
“While we continue the short-term recovery with FEMA’s help, our critical long-term work to rebuild stronger and smarter is delayed with every day that federal funds are held in Washington,” Gov. Cooper wrote in the letter.
The far-reaching impact of the shutdown includes not having access to the $168 million award of Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery from the U.S. Housing and Urban Development. In April 2018, the state was notified of the award that is to be used to make the state’s flood-prone areas safer. The state remains unable to use these funds until guidance is published in the Federal Register, which cannot happen while the federal government remains shuttered, according to the release.
A HUD appropriation for 2018 storms including Hurricane Florence was enacted as part of the Federal Aviation Administration re-authorization bill in September but awaits allocation. The $1.68 billion will be shared by North Carolina and other states recovering from natural disasters but without guidance, the states are left waiting to learn how much funding will be received and how best to use the funds for recovery and mitigation. The shutdown also limits access to HUD experts needed to help with rebuilding efforts in the state.
In addition, North Carolina farmers are without help from federal agriculture experts.
“The government shutdown is also threatening the livelihood of our farmers, many of whom were swamped by the same hurricane waters that destroyed homes and businesses,” Cooper wrote. “Help from the US Department of Agriculture for hurricane affected farms is unavailable, and farmers hoping to plan for this year’s planting season are running out of time.”
Hurricane Florence hit North Carolina Sept. 13, slowly moving across the state over several days, dumping 8 trillion gallons of rain. Many parts of North Carolina hit hard by Florence were still working to recover from Hurricane Matthew, which hit the state just two years prior.
“The people of North Carolina are strong and are working hard to rebuild. But we are equally determined to hold the federal government to its promise of help,” Gov. Cooper wrote to President Trump. ” During your visit following Hurricane Florence, you promised me the 100% support of the federal government in North Carolina’s recovery. This shutdown makes that promise harder to keep. Please work with Congressional leaders to end this shutdown so our communities can rebuild quickly and effectively.”