California Governor Jerry Brown might just land in hot water over the recent spate of wildfires as his veto of the 2016 Wildfire Mitigation bill comes under increased scrutiny, per the Washington Free Beacon:
California Gov. Jerry Brown’s 2016 veto of wildfire-related bill is facing new scrutiny in the wake of the deadliest, most destructive week of fires in state history.
The measure would have required the state government’s public utility commission to work with municipalities to ensure that energy companies do all they can to prevent fires in high-risk areas.
When he vetoed the bill, Brown dismissed it as unnecessary and redundant to efforts the utility commission had already begun, arguing that it would gum up the process already underway.
The governor’s critics disagree, especially now that a power line is suspected to have caused the Camp Fire, which wiped out the small town of Paradise, Calif. in the worst fire in state history.
The Daily Caller News Foundation has more on what that legislation might have accomplished:
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.”
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.”
Forbes explains the problem in California’s forests:
The federal government controls 46 percent of California’s land, much of it managed by the U.S. Forest Service.
In the three decades before 1990, foresters harvested 10-12 billion board feet of timber from national forests every year.
By 2013, restrictive environmental policies cut that to 2.5 billion.
While the harvest declined, so too did tree thinning and the clearing of brush and diseased trees.
The Trump administration is reversing that trend with the biggest harvest of trees on federal land in 20 years, selling 3.4 billion board feet on some 3 million acres—still just a third of the typical pre-1990 harvest.
So there you have it.