- The Washington Times - Monday, November 4, 2019

California Gov. Gavin Newsom swung back at President Trump’s threat to cut federal wildfire funding, telling the president he should have no say in how the state manages its forests because he doesn’t “believe in climate change.”

“You don’t believe in climate change. You are excused from this conversation,” the Democratic governor said in a Sunday tweet.

Mr. Newsom’s comment came in response to Mr. Trump’s tweetstorm decrying the governor’s “terrible job of forest management” in the wake of another round of disastrous wildfires in the Golden State.

“The Governor of California, @GavinNewsom, has done a terrible job of forest management,” Mr. Trump tweeted. “I told him from the first day we met that he must ‘clean’ his forest floors regardless of what his bosses, the environmentalists, DEMAND of him.”

The president added: “Every year, as the fire’s rage & California burns, it is the same thing-and then he comes to the Federal Government for $$ help. No more. Get your act together Governor. You don’t see close to the level of burn in other states.”



 

 

Other California Democrats came to Mr. Newsom’s defense.

“When a child’s house burns down, the party registration of her parents doesn’t matter. Mother nature does not discriminate based on ideology when she strikes with fires or floods or hurricanes. Get it?” tweeted Rep. Ted Lieu, California Democrat.

Sen. Kamala Harris chimed in: “Raking leaves is as effective at combatting the climate crisis as your phone’s spellcheck is at fixing your tweets. @GavinNewsom is doing his job. Maybe you should try it.”

 

 

Democrats have blamed human-caused global warming for exacerbating California’s recent catastrophic wildfire seasons, while Republicans have decried federal and state regulations, as well as environmental groups, impeding the ability of forest managers to thin the woods and clear dead and dying trees.

About 58% of California’s 33 million forested acres are owned and managed by the federal government, far more than the 3% owned by the state, but the state land has also burned at a higher rate than the federal land.

A January 2019 fact sheet by the California Forest Management Task Force showed that wildfires in the last two years have consumed 1.38 million acres of state land, almost as much as the 1.54 million acres of federal land burned in the same period.

The task force said that California is “investing unprecedented resources into improving forest management,” citing a $160 million forest-health grant program and a $100 million Forest Carbon Plan.

At the same time, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said in a February report that California faces a “massive backlog of forest management work,” while the Legislative Analyst’s Office found in April 2018 that the department spends 90% of its budget on firefighting versus 7% on forest management.

Most of the recent autumn wildfires fueled by high winds have been largely contained, including the Kincade Fire in Sonoma County, which was 80% contained as of Monday after burning 77,758 acres, according to CalFire.

 

 

Republican state legislators plan to introduce in January a bill to suspend the state’s green-energy mandate, allowing the $2.4 billion spent by Pacific Gas & Electric annually on renewables to be invested instead into updating the grid and clearing trees near transmission lines, which have sparked some recent blazes.

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