Congressman Lowenthal Comments On White House Threat To Suspend FEMA Funds for California Wildfire Relief

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Washington, D.C., January 10, 2019 | comments

While California families and communities continue to struggle to recover from the devastating wildfires that hit California last year, the President tweeted Wednesday that “Billions of dollars are sent to the State of California for Forest fires that, with proper Forest Management, would never happen. Unless they get their act together, which is unlikely, I have ordered FEMA to send no more money. It is a disgraceful situation in lives & money!”

The President’s threat to withhold these funds from California families, businesses, and communities is not only irresponsible and dangerous, but it is petty in its intention and cruel in its effect.

The President issued a disaster declaration for parts of California last year for good reason—our state experienced one the worst fire seasons in history. Now he wants to reverse himself on a whim. Currently, California is already put at a greater risk for 2019 as the President’s shutdown is not allowing important forest floor cleanups, has halted training for thousands of firefighters, and has delayed the purchase of important equipment.

Add to this that the President’s claims are not based on the reality of forest management in California. He ignores the fact that both the Camp and Carr fires ignited on federal lands. He ignores that the federal government has control of nearly 60 percent of the forest land in our state. And he ignores the overwhelming scientific consensus—confirmed by reports from his own Administration—that climate change has already increased the severity of wildfires in our state.

The only conclusion to draw is that partisanship is behind his decision to turn his back on California’s disaster needs.

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