Trump threatens to axe emergency fire aid for California

Clay Curtis
January 9, 2019

President Donald Trump threatened Wednesday to withhold money to help California cope with wildfires a day after new Gov. Gavin Newsom asked him to double the federal investment in forest management.

'Unless they get their act together, which is unlikely, I have ordered FEMA to send no more money.

"Although I share the President's great frustration with California's choking regulations from the stranglehold environmental groups have on the state, as well as the inaction on federal lands up until this Administration, the immediate problem for fire victims is the first need, and threats to FEMA funding are not helpful and will not solve the longer term forest management regulatory problems. We can't control the climate".

California was devastated by a series of rapidly moving fires late previous year.

Newsom also pitched an additional $105 million to help California prevent and battle wildfires. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders did not immediately respond to Newsweek's request for comment.

There was no further information on the veracity of Trump's Twitter claim. The order directs the Interior Department and the Department of Agriculture to identify ways to reduce "regulatory barriers" to better manage forests and get rid of hazardous fuels, and it calls for "treating" 4.25 million federal acres - an area larger than CT - to cut fuel loads.

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More than half of California's forests are managed by the federal government, and the letter noted the U.S. Forest Service's budget has steadily decreased since 2016.

"It's absolutely shocking for President Trump to suggest he would deny disaster assistance to communities destroyed by wildfire", California's senior U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat, said in a statement Wednesday.

Days after the Camp Fire began burning, Trump threatened to withhold federal payments to California, accusing the Golden State of "poor" forest management.

Democratic Congressman Raúl Grijalva, the new chairman of the Natural Resources Committee, said Trump "knows how to govern only by threats". 'Californians endured the deadliest wildfire in our state's history past year.

In this file photo taken on November 10, 2018 Flames from the Camp fire burn near a home atop a ridge near Big Bend, California.

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