Feb 14, 2017
LaMalfa Requests Disaster Funding From the President
February 13, 2017
(Oroville, CA) – Congressman Doug LaMalfa (R-Richvale) issued the following statement after sending a letter to President Trump urging that he declare a Presidential Disaster Declaration of a Major Emergency after the Oroville Dam spillway suffered major damage, leading to an increased threat to public safety and causing widespread evacuations in the surrounding areas.
LaMalfa said: “The damage to the emergency spillway and main spillway to the Oroville Dam is a major safety concern for the surrounding communities and a crisis that will persist for the foreseeable future. Residents have been forced to leave their homes and seek shelter on higher ground as the risk for a major flood continues. The mandatory evacuation of nearly 200,000 residents is the very definition of a disaster and with more rain expected as early as Wednesday, it is critical that we act swiftly to ensure federal aid is available to support and shelter evacuees as this crisis continues to develop. The wellbeing of our residents is the number one priority and we must do everything within our power to ensure their safety. I urge the President and the Governor to take this action as rapidly as possible.”
The text for the letter is as follows:
The Honorable Donald J. Trump
President of the United States
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500
We are writing to urge that you act rapidly to declare a Presidential Disaster Declaration of a Major Emergency to address the threat to public safety resulting from crippling damage to Oroville Dam, located in Butte County, California. Under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, a declaration would immediately direct federal resources to the area to help address a crisis of growing proportions and assist residents of three counties currently under mandatory evacuation orders.
Oroville Dam, the tallest dam in the United States and the primary component of the State Water Project, experienced significant damage to its primary spillway late last week and operation of the spillway was rapidly curtailed. As a result of decreased releases from the primary spillway, a rapid, storm-caused increase in water levels triggered the first-ever use of an adjacent emergency spillway. During operation of the emergency spillway, it also experienced erosion-related damage to a degree which could result in failure and potentially catastrophic flooding if operations were continued. State and local officials determined that failure of the emergency spillway was so imminent that they triggered a mandatory evacuation of nearly 200,000 downstream residents late last night.
While the emergency spillway did not fail last evening, according to the National Weather Service (NWS), additional storms will reach Northern California as early as Wednesday and contribute significant precipitation over the following several days. The danger of failure is likely to persist for months as California’s winter and spring runoff seasons progress, and it is extremely unclear when state agencies will be able to mitigate the danger to a degree that would allow residents to return to their homes.
A Presidential Disaster Declaration would immediately make federal aid available to support evacuation and shelter of the residents of Butte, Sutter, and Yuba Counties, as well as increase the capacity of federal, state, and local agencies to address the crisis as it develops.
We ask that you act rapidly in order to ensure that appropriate federal agencies are able to rapidly provide assistance during this challenging situation. Thank you for your timely response to this request.
Congressman Doug LaMalfa is a lifelong farmer representing California’s First Congressional District, including Butte, Glenn, Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou and Tehama Counties.
Feb 3, 2017
PNP comment: This is really good news, especially for Siskiyou County! Wow! — Editor Liz Bowen
LaMalfa Takes Subcommittee Gavel: Announces Subcommittee Assignments for 115th Congress
(Washington, DC) – Congressman Doug LaMalfa (R-Richvale) issued the following statement after receiving his subcommittee assignments for the 115th Congress, including chairmanship of the House committee on Natural Resources Subcommittee on Indian, Insular and Alaska Native Affairs.
LaMalfa said: “I’m very pleased with my committee assignments for the 115th Congress and I feel that they give me the best opportunity to get a great deal accomplished for California’s 1st district. I will get to continue my work on the Agriculture and Natural Resources committees to protect and create rural jobs while joining the Transportation and Infrastructure committee at a critical time to make a lot of improvements to California’s crumbling highways and water storage systems. I am excited to chair my first subcommittee in Congress and I look forward to a very busy term where we will get a lot done for the state of California and our Nation.”
A full breakdown of Rep. LaMalfa’s committee assignments for the 115th Congress is as follows:
House Committee on Natural Resources
Ø Chairman of the Subcommittee on Indian, Insular and Alaska Native Affairs
Ø Subcommittee on Water, Power and Oceans
House Committee on Agriculture
Ø Subcommittee on Commodity Exchanges, Energy and Credit
Ø Subcommittee on Conservation and Forestry
House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
Ø Subcommittee on Water Resources and Development
Ø Subcommittee on Aviation
Ø Subcommittee on Highway and Transit
Congressman Doug LaMalfa is a lifelong farmer representing California’s First Congressional District including, Butte, Glenn, Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou and Tehama Counties.
Oct 27, 2016
Redding Record Searchlight
October 26, 2016
By Nathan Solis of the Redding Record Searchlight
Army Sgt. Bryan Strother sifted through a stack of letters, pay stubs and other documents from the Pentagon and the federal government on his dining room table at his Oroville home Wednesday.
They document a long road starting in 2007 when the National Guard asked him to re-enlist with the incentive of a bonus to do so.
“Their numbers were down. They needed to retain people, qualified people,” Strother said, especially those who had been in the Mideast.
Strother jumped at the chance for the extra cash and a promise to pay off his student loans during the meeting at Fairfield Armory in Chico led by a one-star general and attended by 300 other veterans.
But he — and many others — got quite the shock when they finished that tour of duty and the government wanted its bonus money back. In Strother’s case, he was asked to pay back $25,000 for the bonus and his student loans. It turns out the California National Guard was not supposed to offer the money.
On Wednesday, after national outcry about the practice, Defense Secretary Ash Carter told the Pentagon to stand down and stop asking some 10,000 California National Guard troops to repay the bonuses.
“Ultimately, we will provide for a process that puts as little burden as possible on any soldier who received an improper payment through no fault of his or her own,” Carter said in his statement.
Carter said all collection efforts have been suspended and military officials would work on streamlining the process. A day before several House Republican leaders in California signed a letter calling for the Pentagon to stop the collection of bonuses given out in error.
The bonuses were offered to soldiers who would re-enlist for service in Iraq and Afghanistan. Soldiers were offered $15,000 bonuses, according to several National Guardsmen who were on active duty between 2003 and 2012.
Former Army Master Sgt. Toni Jaffe, the California Guard’s incentive manager during that time, pleaded guilty to filing false claims and was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison.
While all that is good news to Strother, he says he still plans to pursue a federal lawsuit he filed in February of this year.
“I was given that amount of money, then all of a sudden it became a matter of voiding my contract,” he said.
About six months after filing the suit, Strother received a letter from the government saying he fulfilled his contractual obligations but he still owed the government up to $5,000 for the student loans it had covered under the bonus program.
Despite all the headache Strother endured, he recently re-enlisted for another six-year contract with the National Guard in order to avoid any penalties for the student loan payments hanging over his head.
Daniel Willman, Strother’s lawyer, said the recent decision from the Pentagon is “not a remedy for the problem, but more a suspension of their actions in going after money from these veterans.”
“The contractual obligations in question were followed in good faith,” Willman said. “We want to trigger a class-action lawsuit.”
A representative for the California National Guard did not immediately return a call from the paper.
Congressman Doug LaMalfa said the recent National Defense Authorization Act, which has not passed through the Senate, does address the matter of asking for soldiers to pay back bonuses. The fact the Pentagon went after veterans in the first place is wrong and unacceptable, LaMalfa said
“This was a screw-up on a federal level,” LaMalfa said. “What we have to make sure we do is get those veterans who have paid something back — to get their money back.”
LaMalfa noted the National Guard did not have the authority to forgive the bonuses or to change the enlistment policies.
Strother said his lawsuit is not about money, but about the policies in place that entice soldiers to enlist and then bill them later.
“I risked my life for those payments,” Strother said. “I had just returned from Middle East for deployment within the year before going back. I had a young daughter who couldn’t even remember her last name when I came back. It was hard and I fulfilled that in good faith.”
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