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Schwarzenegger Asks Homeland Security Chief For Levee Assistance

Sacramento, CA — Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is asking again for a federal emergency declaration to speed repairs of Central Valley levees.

But Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, who is visiting California, made no commitment today.

Chertoff and Schwarzenegger took a helicopter ride over the levees. And Chertoff said afterward that emergency declarations usually are issued right after a disaster or when one is imminent , not before.

Schwarzenegger declared a state emergency last month to speed up repairs to weakened levees throughout the Central Valley. That order suspends state environmental and contracting rules that could slow the work.