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President’s Threat To Pull California Wildfire FEMA Funding Draws Criticism

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Sonora, CA – Via Twitter this morning, President Donald Trump threatened to eliminate FEMA funding for California unless forest management changes are not made soon.

President Trump’s tweet stated, “Billions of dollars are sent to the State of California for Forrest fires that, with proper Forrest Management, would never happen. Unless they get their act together, which is unlikely, I have ordered FEMA to send no more money.”

Shortly after the statement, Governor Gavin Newsom tweeted back, “Disasters and recovery are no time for politics.”

Mother Lode Congressman Tom McClintock also issued a strongly worded response. While agreeing with the President that the forest had been mismanaged, McClintock praised CAL Fire for doing its job and protecting the state. He countered, “Cutting off their funding would damage the one governmental agency that actually works.” He also argued that federal environmental laws are to blame and suggested, “Until the federal government acts to reform its own laws, it has no excuse for withholding funds from California for following the same policies.” He went on to “strongly urge” the President not to stop the funding.

The President did not release any specific details regarding changes he would like to see  made. McClintock’s entire statement is below:

“The President is absolutely correct that poor forest management has condemned our forests to morbid overcrowding and ultimately catastrophic wildfire.  However, the principal blame for California’s wildfires lies with federal agencies and laws which govern most of our state’s forests and brushlands.  Laws like the National Environmental Policy Act and the Endangered Species Act, which have made scientific forest management endlessly time consuming and ultimately cost prohibitive, are merely mimicked by bad state laws like the California Environmental Quality Act.

The House has passed reforms to streamline these federal laws but was consistently thwarted by the Senate.  Until the federal government acts to reform its own laws, it has no excuse for withholding funds from California for following the same policies.

Indeed, our federal agencies often view catastrophic fire as a “management tool” and as a result have been sluggish to respond to emergencies.  It has been CAL Fire, a state agency, that has aggressively, competently and quickly attacked our forest fires with all the resources at its command and has protected us from the worst consequences of these destructive federal and state laws.  Cutting off their funding would damage the one governmental agency that actually works.

I strongly urge the President to reconsider this action.”

  • Tom McClintock

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