Jerry Brown Vetoed 2016 Wildfire Mitigation Bill

By Michael Bastasch, 11-13-18, at The Daily Caller:


California Gov. Jerry Brown’s decision to veto a 2016 bipartisan bill aimed at mitigating wildfire risks from power lines and utility equipment has become the focus of critics as fires rage across the state.

Wildfires have scorched more than 221,000 acres across California since Thursday, and Brown’s critics are pointing to the two-year-old veto as news reports suggest power lines may have sparked the deadliest wildfire in California’s history.

“He has done nothing to harden those assets,” state Sen. John Moorlach, a Republican, told The DCNF.

Moorlach sponsored the 2016 bill, called SB 1463, which would have given local governments a bigger role in putting together fire risk maps with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and Cal Fire, the state’s firefighting agency.

The bill also required the CPUC to work with utilities to mitigate wildfire risks, including putting transmission lines underground if necessary. The bill passed through both state legislative chambers, but Brown vetoed the bill in September 2016. Brown said state officials “have been doing just that through the existing proceeding on re-threat maps and re-safety regulations.”

A firefighter extinguishes a hot spot in a neighbourhood destroyed by the Camp Fire in Paradise

A firefighter extinguishes a hot spot in a neighbourhood destroyed by the Camp Fire in Paradise, California, U.S., November 13, 2018. REUTERS/Terray Sylvester.

Two years later, Moorlach said the state agencies and utilities have made little progress in mitigating the risk of wildfires faced by communities across the state.

“Well they’ve been working on it for like eight years and they haven’t gotten it done. This is really simple stuff,” Moorlach said. “Utilities are just sort of hanging onto the money.”

Journalist Katy Grimes also criticized Brown’s veto. The conservative journalist tweeted that “Brown had many chances to address CA’s increasing wildfires since his election in 2011, but instead chose to play politics.”

Brown’s spokesman Evan Westrup told TheDCNF that critics of Brown’s 2016 veto were “exploiting tragedy and peddling bunk to score cheap political points.” CPUC news director Terrie Prosper also defended Brown’s veto.

“Senate Bill 1463 would have prolonged the safety work already going on at the CPUC by requiring the participation of certain entities, which was unnecessary because CAL FIRE was already a party to the proceeding, and local governments and fire departments could also participate,” Prosper told TheDCNF.

Brown, however, did sign legislation in September that would dedicate some funds raised through California’s cap-and-trade program to forest management. Moorlach supported the bill, but said Brown should have acted sooner to mitigate wildfire risks.

Brown has largely framed wildfires as the product of man-made global warming. On Sunday, Brown said “those who deny” global warming contributed to the fires.

Moorlach said Brown’s concern about the climate was “inconsistent” with his 2016 veto.

“Not addressing wildfires has reversed all the work we’ve done to reduce greenhouse gases,” Moorlach told TheDCNF. “It’s inconsistent.”

“It’s sort of become his religion,” Moorlach said of Brown’s global warming fervor.

The 135,000-acre Camp Fire destroyed thousands of structures, including engulfing the entire northern California town of Paradise. The Campre Fire resulted in at least 42 deaths, making it the deadliest blaze in state history.

It’s not clear what exactly caused the fire, but local media reports suggest PG&E power lines may be to blame for the deadly fire.

PG&E said it had problems with a power line minutes before the Camp Fire started. Landowner Betsy Ann Cowley said PG&E needed to access to her property in Pulga because “they were having problems with sparks.” The fire started on Cowley’s land.

Yuba and Butte County Sheriff deputies carry a body bag with a deceased victim during the Camp fire in Paradise

Yuba and Butte County Sheriff deputies carry a body bag with a deceased victim during the Camp fire in Paradise, California, U.S. November 10, 2018. REUTERS/Stephen Lam.

Cal Fire also blamed PG&E power lines and equipment for deadly wildfires that ravaged northern California last year. Those 16 fires killed at least 44 people and destroyed hundreds of structures.

In southern California, the 96,000-acre Woolsey Fire killed at least two people as it made its way to the iconic beach city of Malibu. Utility SoCal Edison said “a circuit relayed out of the Chatsworth Substation about two minutes before the blaze broke out,” CNN reported.

SoCal Edison reported to state officials that “at this point we have no indication from fire agency personnel that SCE utility facilities may have been involved in the start of the fire.”


In typical Dem style, Brown didn’t address preventive measures when he could have, but instead he later chose to throw more money at the problem, except that it was too late. So where do they go next for help? Back to the Feds for more taxpayer funds, of course. That means we all pay for the damages in California.

Had the forests been managed properly none of this had to happen, and now there are dozens of people dead and thousands of people without homes. Meanwhile Brown and SoCal Edison deny responsibility which is also the typical Dem reaction.

Ultimately though, the responsibility belongs on the voters of California who keep electing more Democrats in spite of the evidence that they’re incapable of leadership and and prioritizing the issues. They don’t learn from history and neither do the leaders they elect.


Categories: Political

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10 replies

  1. A friend who lived in CA for 30 years, but moved away, tells me “Trump is Right”… I assume she means about CA being responsible in part. She also shared this link managing-forests-to-reduce- wildfire-risks/#.W-4HwxmQmew @MikeTokes (twitter) also has some very interesting tweets on the topic.


  2. It’s proven that California could very much lessen the fires they have. But they don’t. It’s like when they let out all the water stored for draught just to save a lizard. Liberal insanity.


    • Insanity is exactly right, tannngl. They rely so heavily on others’ money while wasting their own and they’re protecting all the wrong things. And judging from the results of their election, things aren’t going to change any time soon.


  3. It is almost impossible to comprehend the absurdity of the Left’s stubborn insistence that they are going to alter the climate with heavy-handed gov’t policy. It’s right up there with the Indians’ belief that rain could be induced with sacrifices and dancing ceremonies. And how’s this for irony: While the “progressives” are digging in their heals and insisting that they be allowed to micromanage every aspect of our lives and put the brakes on our economy (and our standard of living), the wildfires that are ravaging ill-prepared California are spewing TONS of the dreaded carbon dioxide into the air. According to LiveScience, “Large wildfires in the western United States can pump as much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere in just a few weeks as cars do in those areas in an entire year, a new study suggests.”

    The climate alarmists might be interested to know that before 2018 the single largest wildfire in California recorded history was the Santiago Canyon Fire of 1889 (previously called the Great Fire of 1889). Per Wikipedia it “…was a massive wildfire in California, which burned large parts of Orange County, Riverside County, and San Diego County during the last week of September, 1889…with at least 300,000 acres (1,200 km2) of land burned.”

    “Assistant Regional Forester (USFS), L.A. Barrett, who wrote a 1935 report on California wildfires, said of it: “I was living in Orange County at the time and well remember the great fire reported herein from September 24 to 26. Nothing like it occurred in California since the National Forests have been administered. In fact in my 33 years in the Service I have never seen a forest or brush fire to equal it. This one covered an enormous scope of country and burned very rapidly.”

    “Conditions leading up to the 1889 fire included a much longer and more severe annual drought than usual, with rains largely ceasing in March and less than 0.4 inches (1 cm) of precipitation being recorded for the 5½ months prior (records from the National Archives). This was coupled with multiple katabatic wind events (known as “northers” or Santa Anas) that month, one of which occurred about 10 days prior and likely added to the dryness of fuels. Temperatures during the week prior remained high and were coupled with several severe fires in San Diego County in which “at least 10,000 acres [40 km2] have burned over, a dwelling house consumed and other property destroyed”.

    It’s like déjà vu all over again, right??? 129 YEARS AGO, and the conditions were the same as California is experiencing today. Gee, how can that be when California wouldn’t have had many – if any – cars back then? And how fascinating is it to see that 45 years after that fire (and before the fight over climate change vs. forest mismanagement) the Assistant Regional Forester commented on the absence of fires since forest management began?

    Liked by 2 people

    • That’s a perfect example, CW, yet the climate alarmists never stop repeating the same old song about it being man-made, or caused by jet streams, or straws, or you-name-it. And I won’t even get started on how many millions of gallons of water are being used and further depleting limited supplies.

      Now Trump is trying to tell them that we’re tired of paying for their bad (or missing) management, so naturally he’s caustic, he doesn’t care and it’s his fault.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Well the unfortunate thing is that once again Trump’s timing was poor. It may be right to say that someone has only themselves to blame for a terrible accident that left them in critical condition but it looks cold to point this out as that person is being loaded into the ambulance. While the fires were raging and people missing, dying and losing everything is not the best time to tweet threats about withholding federal funds and make accusations of mismanagement, and it made his later tweets of caution and concern seem insincere. He could have and should have first tweeted to urge people to get out of harms way and express concern and condolences. Afterwards, when the fires are contained, he could say something like:

        “The terrible fires in California are a tragic reminder that every state must practice responsible forest management and enact policies that first protect the lives and property of their citizens given the unique conditions in that state. It is not fair to ask the taxpayers in other states to expend our limited resources for catastrophes that could potentially be prevented or significantly minimized. Though I encourage people around the country to be helpful and charitable to their fellow Americans in crisis, I am going to establish a task force to study the causes of disasters such as the fires in California to measure the extent to which states failed to take the obvious and necessary preventative measures and will approve or withhold federal assistance accordingly.”

        I don’t know if that fits in a tweet but Trump could go outside the box now and then and put out an official statement.


      • Agreed, CW. I can’t count the times Trump’s gotten the cart before the horse in some of his comments, but then, like we knew going in, he wasn’t going to be all that presidential in his thought process or the presentation. He’s more prone to knee-jerk reactions and some folks have said that he does it intentionally just to rile up the media. I’m not so sure – not this many times.

        Liked by 1 person

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