This oversight hearing on Wildfire Prevention and Forest Resiliency was called as a direct result of an investigative story by Capitol Public Radio and National Public Radio. The investigation found that the Governor “overstated, by an astounding 690%, the number of acres treated with fuel breaks and prescribed burns in the very forestry projects he said needed to be prioritized to protect the state’s most vulnerable communities. …Newsom slashed roughly $150 million from Cal Fire’s wildfire prevention budget.”
Over 4.2 million acres burned last year, resulting in an estimated 112 million metric tons of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere. Despite a budget surplus of over $38 billion, and the Governor declaring that we are in the midst of a “climate damn emergency,” the Governor provided no additional funding specifically for wildfire prevention in his May Revise. Postponing the legislative hearing will only further delay much needed resources.
The Assembly Republican Wildfire Working Group issued the following statement:
“California is experiencing the second worst wildfire in the state’s history. Families are displaced. Children are evacuated and not attending school. Californians are breathing hazardous air. Communities are being destroyed.
“Why cancel a committee hearing that would have brought in experts to discuss strategies and goals for investments in wildfire prevention and forest resiliency?
“The wildfire budget is over two months late. Over 10,700 firefighters remain on the frontlines of 10 active large wildfires that have burned more than a million acres. Increased funding is essential to prevent and stop wildfires in California.
“It is shameful that this Governor takes a hands-off approach to wildfire prevention measures after misleading the public of his efforts. He appears to be more interested in making public appearances than solving California’s problems.”
The Assembly Republican Wildfire Working Group consists of Assembly Republican Leader Marie Waldron and Assemblymembers Vince Fong, Kelly Seyarto, James Gallagher, Frank Bigelow and Megan Dahle.
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