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Bipartisan praise for Brown’s drought declaration

Praise is raining down from both sides of the aisle for Gov. Jerry Brown’s declaration of a drought emergency.

From U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.:

“I applaud Governor Brown’s decision to issue a drought declaration. The declaration provides the state with greater flexibility to address drought conditions and lays the foundation for federal disaster assistance through a presidential declaration.

“This week Congressman Costa, Senator Boxer and I called on President Obama to approve a federal disaster declaration as soon as possible and to appoint a drought task force to work with the state to mitigate the drought’s effects on the state. Now that the governor has issued the state declaration, I hope the president will act quickly to approve the federal declaration.”

From state Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento:

“This bone-dry winter reminds us again that California’s water infrastructure is insufficient. Our lakes and rivers look bleak, including those that feed the Sacramento–San Joaquin River Delta, upon which we are overly reliant as the sole solution to California’s water future.

“I look forward to working with my legislative colleagues and the Governor on immediate actions that should also guide long-term water policy in California.”

From state Sen. Tom Berryhill, R-Modesto:

“I absolutely commend the Governor for taking action on this very serious situation. It is a great first step to setting the wheels in motion to aid California during one of the driest years in history. I look forward to rolling up my sleeves and working with him and my colleagues on this issue.

“California’s reservoirs are at an all-time low. This is a crisis of epic proportions and underscores just how important it is for us to pass a water bond this year to address our infrastructure needs. Additional water storage is key. The Latino Water Coalition rally yesterday, his visits to Fresno, Bakersfield and Riverside on Monday and Tuesday and a weather forecast that includes not a drop of rain make a pretty solid case not only for this drought declaration, but for passing a comprehensive water bond that includes money for additional above ground water storage.”

From state Sen. Andy Vidak, R-Hanford:

“The Valley roared and the governor heard us! Thank you Governor Brown for declaring California is in a drought emergency.”

From state Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco:

“With 2013 being the driest year on record, and the Sierra Nevada snowpack at 17% of its normal levels, it is clear California is in the middle of a severe drought. This will result in an increase in devastating wildfires, such as the fire currently burning in Glendora and the many others we’ve seen in recent months. It jeopardizes the farmers in the Central Valley and beyond, putting the local economies and families that depend on that industry at risk. This drought is already negatively impacting the quality life of every Californian, and it is going to get worse before it gets better.

“While we pursue conservation efforts on the state level, it is important that all of us work to lower the amount of water we use. I thank Governor Brown for issuing this declaration, and join him in calling for a 20-30% voluntary reduction in water consumption. There are many simple ways to conserve water, from fixing leaky fixtures and appliances, to installing water saving showerheads and taking shorter showers, to only using your dishwasher or washing machine when you have a full load. As our economy gets back on its feet, this drought has the potential to force us back into a recession. We can help to lessen the suffering of the worst affected if we all do our part.”

More, after the jump…
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New video explains state’s spring storm disaster

Even as Gov. Jerry Brown tries to convince federal officials to provide aid and funding for California counties hit by severe storms in March, the California Emergency Management Agency today released a new video detailing those storms’ impact.

The nine-minute video describes “how a haunting low pressure system parked itself over the Pacific Ocean last March pushing relentless bursts of heavy rains, paralyzing snow and high winds throughout the state over a 12-day period,” CalEMA said in its news release.

The state calculated more than $50 million in damages and Brown declared a state of emergency in 17 counties. Capitola and other parts of Santa Cruz and Monterey counties were particularly hard-hit

“It’s difficult for people to appreciate the sheer magnitude of this disaster because of the wide spread affects in different parts of the state,” Acting CalEMA Secretary Mike Dayton said in the release. “We decided the best way to educate people about this disaster was to document the impacts on video and talk to experts who explain how unusual, and powerful, this storm system really was.”

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Brown appeals for federal aid for storm damages

Gov. Jerry Brown wrote today to President Barack Obama to appeal the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s denial of his request to declare a major disaster and provide federal aid and statewide Hazard Mitigation Grant Program funding for California counties hit by severe storms in March.

Brown asked for the presidential declaration April 22 after he declared states of emergency in Alameda, Amador, Butte, Contra Costa, Del Norte, Humboldt, Madera, Mariposa, Mendocino, Monterey, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz, Sierra, Stanislaus, Sutter, Trinity, Tuolumne and Ventura counties. Marin County was added to the list later.

FEMA denied Brown’s’s request June 21, but Brown’s office says current estimates of the damage caused by the storm now exceed $51 million.

“We have provided additional supporting information from the National Weather Service and the California Department of Water Resources validating the original assertion that the damages sustained were the result of a single event,” Brown wrote today. “Also, we have substantiated that the magnitude of the damages and the monetary cost to the state, as well as the economic impact on local governments, exceeds our combined capabilities.”

Read the full text of Brown’s letter, after the jump…
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Jerry Brown seeks tsunami disaster declaration

Gov. Jerry Brown today wrote to President Barack Obama to request a Presidential major disaster declaration for California following the 9.0 magnitude earthquake and tsunami off the coast of Japan, which generated a water surge that caused over $48 million in damage to California ports, harbors, boats, businesses and infrastructure.

Brown’s letter asks for additional federal resources to supplement state and local repair and recovery efforts. The governor earlier had issued emergency proclamations for Del Norte, Humboldt, San Mateo, Santa Cruz, Mendocino and San Luis Obispo counties, as well as an executive order to waive the waiting period for victims to apply for unemployment insurance, expedite the hiring of emergency and cleanup personnel and request state tax officials to accommodate those affected by the water surge.

Read Brown’s letter to President Obama, after the jump…
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Brown declares emergency in tsunami counties

Gov. Jerry Brown has just issued an emergency proclamation for Del Norte, Humboldt, San Mateo and Santa Cruz Counties following the 8.9 magnitude earthquake and tsunami off the coast of Japan, which generated a water surge along the California coast, causing damage to ports, harbors and infrastructure.

Such proclamations clear the way for state and federal emergency aid.

Read the proclamation’s full text, after the jump…
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California = disaster

It’s official: California is a disaster.

2012Oh, a disaster area, that’s what I meant. Sorry.

President Barack Obama today declared a major disaster exists in California and ordered federal aid for recovery efforts in the area struck by severe winter storms, flooding, and debris and mud flows from Dec. 17 through Jan. 4.

That funding will be made available to state, tribal, and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofits on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and repair or replacement of facilities damaged by the severe winter storms, flooding, and debris and mud flows in Inyo, Kern, Kings, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Tulare counties. Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide.

We still have to deal with the rest of our disasters on our own.