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LaMalfa’s Electricity Reliability and Forest Protection Act Passes House

Doug LaMalfa Congressman CA

June 21, 2017

 

(Washington, DC) – Congressman Doug LaMalfa (R-Richvale) issued the following statement after the House passed H.R. 1873, the Electricity Reliability and Forest Protection Act, introduced by Rep. LaMalfa and Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR). The bipartisan legislation provides streamlined processes for the removal of hazardous trees or other vegetative overgrowth within or adjacent to electricity infrastructure – such as power lines – on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and U.S. Forest Service lands, reducing the risk of forest fires and electrical grid blackouts. The bill passed the House by a margin of 300-118.

LaMalfa said: “It’s just common sense to remove a tree that is dangerously close to a power line, but current bureaucratic restrictions and red tape make that process much more difficult to do the work than it should be. As a result, delayed removal of hazardous trees can lead to electrical blackouts and forest fires. This is a lose-lose situation for forest health, air quality, habitat and energy reliability, while also leading to higher energy costs for consumers. Our bill solves this problem by streamlining the process for utility companies to remove dead or dying trees that are in danger of falling on a power line and others in need of trimming, while holding the Forest Service accountable for timely approval. I’m pleased this bill passed the House with bipartisan support and I hope the Senate will soon follow.”

Rep. LaMalfa testifies at a House Rules Committee hearing in support of H.R. 1873. [YouTube]

Under current law it can take months for utilities to receive Forest Service or BLM approval to remove hazardous trees from transmission lines right of ways, even if trees are already in contact with electric transmission lines. In 2012, 232 wildfires were caused by trees falling on power lines. The following year in 2013, 113 wildfires were caused by fallen trees.

H.R. 1873 provides utilities with the ability to rapidly remove hazardous trees by receiving pre-approval from the Forest Service to manage transmission line right of way zones and remove trees that are or could become hazards. Furthermore, if a utility requests authorization to remove a tree and is denied by the Forest Service, the Forest Service is responsible for any liability of firefighting costs that result from the failure to remove the tree.

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.

 

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LaMalfa Rallies Agriculture and Judiciary Chairmen to Help Protect Northern California Farming Rights

Doug LaMalfa Congressman CA

May 26, 2017

Washington, DC) – Congressman Doug LaMalfa (R-Richvale) issued the following statement after, upon Rep. LaMalfa’s request, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Michael Conaway and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions urging a review of the Department of Justice’s decision to prosecute a court case involving California farmer John Duarte.

Under the Sacramento Districts interpretation of Clean Water Act (CWA) that mirrors the Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule, farmer John Duarte is facing $2.8 million in penalties for plowing his fields. The EPA and Army Corps claim the depressions on his farmland 11 miles from the Sacramento River are considered WOTUS, thus subject to CWA regulations. After meeting with Duarte in Northern California, Rep. LaMalfa personally called upon the chairmen to take action in asking the Administration to weigh in on this overreach.

LaMalfa said: “I’ve met with Mr. Duarte and personally visited the farmland in question. To classify his five-inch furrows as ‘miniature mountain ranges’ is laughable. Unfortunately, this is no laughing matter for John Duarte and the many other farmers who face similar fines and penalties around the country. Under the previous Administration, the EPA severely overstepped their authority and their regulations are preventing farmers from simply plowing their fields and using their land. If WOTUS goes into full effect, this will be the new normal. I urged the Chairmen to take action, and I appreciate their swift response in doing so. The Administration needs to look into this matter and help protect property owners from these excessive regulations.”

 

Full text of the letter is below:

May 26, 2017

The Honorable Jeff Sessions
Attorney General of the United States
Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20530

 

Dear Attorney General Sessions:

 

As Chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture and Chairman of the House Committee on the Judiciary (“Committees”), we have been following the case of Duarte Nursery v. Army Corps of Engineers very closely. As you may know, the interpretations of the Clean Water Act (CWA) and its farming exemptions are critical to farmers and ranchers across the nation and, thus, are of particular interest to the Agriculture Committee, especially given the Committee’s jurisdiction over agriculture generally. The Judiciary Committee’s oversight responsibilities include ensuring that the Justice Department enforces the law as Congress intended.

 

The prosecution of Mr. Duarte raises concerns that the Congressional intent behind the farming exemptions in the statute is misunderstood. Specifically, it is the Agriculture Committee’s view that even occasional farm activities, including grazing, qualify as “normal” farming under the statutory exemption, and also are part of an established operation for purposes of the exemption. Further, it is the Committee’s view that the activity at issue in this case constitute plowing for the purposes of the exemption.

 

To better understand the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) process for prosecuting potential violations of the CWA and in order to determine whether or not legislation is required to correct potential misinterpretations of the law, the Committees request the following information:

 

  • What does the DOJ consider in determining whether or not to prosecute a violation of the CWA?

  • Is it appropriate to seek reduced penalties where the alleged violation is based on a novel or strained interpretation of the underlying statutory authority?

  • Have there been any cases where DOJ has entered into contingent settlements pending an appeal of a CWA case? If so, please describe the circumstances of those cases.

  • Has DOJ ever declined on appeal to advance CWA arguments that were successful at the district court level? If so, please describe the circumstances of those cases.

 

If you have any questions about this request, please contact Agriculture Committee staff at (202) 225-2171 and the Judiciary Committee at (202) 225-3951.

 

Sincerely,

 

  1. Michael Conaway
    Chairman
    House Committee on Agriculture      

 

Bob Goodlatte
Chairman
House Committee on the Judiciary          

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.

 

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Doug LaMalfa Announces Grant Funding for Healthcare Clinics in Northern California

Doug LaMalfa Congressman CA

May 19, 2017

 (Washington, DC) – Congressman Doug LaMalfa (R-Richvale) issued the following statement after the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) awarded $3,373,222 in grant funding to health centers in Northern California.

A breakdown of the grant funding allocation is as follows:

Ø  Mountain Valleys Health Center (Bieber, CA – Lassen County) – $1,710,549

Ø  Sierra Family Medical Clinic (Nevada City, CA – Nevada County)- $711,117

Ø  McCloud Healthcare Clinic (McCloud, CA – Siskiyou County) – $951,556

LaMalfa said: “Access to quality health care in rural areas like the North State can often prove to be a challenge. Community Health Centers play a critical role in expanding access in areas where patients may otherwise lack care altogether. This funding will provide a boost to these facilities and help strengthen rural health care in Northern California.”

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.

 

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House Passes American Health Care Act

Congress - Senate, Doug LaMalfa Congressman CA

May 4, 2017

(Washington, DC) – Congressman Doug LaMalfa (R-Richvale) issued the following statement after the House passed an amended version of H.R. 1628, the American Health Care Act.

LaMalfa said: “Here’s what we know: Obamacare is collapsing. Insurance providers are pulling out of the exchanges, premiums are continuing to skyrocket, and choices for Americans are dwindling – and it will only get worse. Unfortunately, the reality is that too many young and healthy individuals are deciding they’d rather pay the penalty than sign up for care, citing financial barriers and lack of choice. A 28 year old making $45,000 a year with no major health concerns is not going to pay upwards of $400 a month for a plan that does not even work for them. And they are not alone. In fact, in 2015, 7.5 million people chose to pay the penalty rather than purchase coverage. That same year, over 12 million filed for hardship exemptions. That’s nearly 20 million people that actively are not in the market today. This causes premiums in the individual market to continue to rise, leaving middle income families struggling to afford their monthly payments, while providers continue to drop out, citing costs, and leaving residents with even fewer choices. Premiums are up 25% nationally and predicted to continue to rise, while one third of counties will have just one insurer this year.

From my very first day in Congress, the constituents of Northern California have pleaded that we get this law repealed and replaced with something that actually works for them. We also know that there will be no help from Democrats, forcing us to use the budget reconciliation process which requires only 51 votes in the Senate as opposed to 60 – Republicans have 52 votes. The Senate Parliamentarian requires every measure to have a budgetary effect. Without budget reconciliation, this bill would need 60 votes to pass and would be dead upon arrival in the Senate – sticking Americans with the high costs of Obamacare for another year. This was our one and only shot to get this done using the budget reconciliation process.

 

The rules of reconciliation force the House to be cautious not to exceed parliamentary guidelines, but the Senate will have significantly more flexibility in their own chamber to test parliamentary limits. Simultaneously, we passed legislation today that will ensure Members of Congress and staff are subject to the same healthcare options as the constituents they serve. This bill is not a finished product, but it’s a start. The American Healthcare Act is a positive step that will ultimately return the freedom of choice back to the patient.”

The Budget Reconciliation Process:

The Senate requires 60 votes to waive a point of order, as compared to the 51-vote threshold for a budget reconciliation bill. Reconciliation measures are intended to implement budget resolutions, and the “Byrd rule” allows Senators to raise a point of order against any provision that is “extraneous” to reconciliation legislation. This includes measures that do not have a budgetary effect, measures where the budgetary effects are “merely incidental” to the policy objective, or measures that involve the jurisdictions of committees without reconciliation instructions. The Senate Parliamentarian may determine that a base bill that contains a substantial number of Byrd violations is not privileged and thus must be considered under a 60-vote threshold. The Senate Parliamentarian does not rule on the parliamentary inquiries of Members of the House, but the House has attempted to comply with the Byrd rule based on guidance from the Senate Budget Committee, among others.

Rep. LaMalfa Speaks on the House floor in support of the American Health Care Act. [YouTube]

Highlights of H.R. 1628, the American Health Care Act:

Ø  Helps to expand our economy and create jobs by providing relief from the employer mandate that California small businesses have been asking for since the ACA became law.

Ø  Repeals the individual mandate, currently forcing Americans to pay skyrocketing premiums for a plan they may not even want or pay a steep penalty.

Ø  Repeals job killing, and costly taxes such as the medical device tax, prescription drug tax, health insurance tax, and Cadillac tax.

Ø  Provides refundable tax credits, designed to give people in the individual market who don’t receive employer sponsored care the same tax benefits as those who do. This way, individuals and families receive an advanceable credit, meaning they have the money when they need to purchase a plan, valued from $2,000 to $14,000 based on age, household, and income, so they can afford coverage that meets their needs.

Ø  Expands tax-free Health Savings Accounts, a tool that gives Americans the opportunity to save their money pre-tax then also have control over how they spend these health care dollars, such as for medication or co-pays. This bill nearly doubles the contribution limit to $6,550 for individuals and $13,100 for families.

Ø  Authorizes $100 billion in grant funding for states under the Patient and State Stability Fund to help lower costs and increase access to care. States can determine how the funds are used to meet the needs of their residents, including providing financial assistance for high cost individuals, reducing out of pocket costs, incentivizing insurer participation in rural areas to drive up competition, reducing the cost of insurance, and promoting access to preventives services.

Facts of the American Health Care Act:

Ø  Will ensure that those receiving Medi-Cal benefits continue to receive them.

Ø  Protects individuals with pre-existing conditions.

Ø  Allows young adults under 26 to remain on their parents’ healthcare plan.

Ø  There will be no reductions for children’s healthcare in California.

Ø  H.R. 2192 ensures coverage options for members of congress and their staff should be on the same basis as what is available to their constituents.

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.

 

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LaMalfa and Garamendi Introduce Legislation to Ease Restrictions on Agricultural Construction

Agriculture, Doug LaMalfa Congressman CA

April 27, 2017

(Washington, DC) – Today, Congressman Doug LaMalfa (R-CA) and Congressman John Garamendi (D-CA) announced the introduction of HR 2170, the FARM Cost Reduction Act. This bipartisan legislation would lift a de facto prohibition on construction and repair of agricultural structures in areas designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as flood risks. Under current law, areas designated as Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHA) generally require all new, expanded or repaired structures to be raised above potential flood level. In many areas in Northern California, however, such restrictions would require raising barns and silos upwards of ten feet, adding prohibitive costs and lessening the utility of the structures.

The legislation also directs FEMA to develop a new flood mapping zone, which would be comprised of levee basins which are protected by levees that do not meet FEMA’s 100-year level of flood protection. Insurance rates in this zone would be based on actuarial risk, meaning if the levees provide a 50-year level of protection, FEMA would charge rates based on that risk level. Under current policy, if a levee does not meet the 100-year level of protection, FEMA assumes there is no protection at all, and charges rates that are structured like those that would be charged absent a levee.

LaMalfa said: “This bill keeps the North State’s farm economy growing and lowers costs for agriculture by modernizing federal flood insurance rules that currently place the same requirements on barns and silos as on suburban housing tracts. By recognizing that agricultural structures have different needs than residential neighborhoods, farmers will be able to build new barns, silos, and sheds and purchase insurance at reasonable rates. I am pleased to work with my colleague, Rep. Garamendi, and our bipartisan coalition to bring some common sense back to flood insurance requirements.”

Garamendi said: “Agriculture is the most responsible use of these floodplains because it keeps spaces open and limits development—both of which are essential to responsible flood control. Current regulations on agricultural structures pave the way for less responsible development and are actually counterproductive to decreasing flood risk. That’s why I’m proud to be working across the aisle with my neighboring Congressman, Doug LaMalfa, to improve floodplain management.”

Reps. LaMalfa and Garamendi have been longtime collaborators on this issue. They first introduced this legislation in the 113th Congress and continue to campaign for funding important local levee projects, the construction of Sites Reservoir, and other projects that will reduce flood risk and take advantage of excess surface flows to create new water to fit California’s expanding needs.

The FARM Cost Reduction Act is supported by the California Rice Commission, USA Rice Federation, American Farm Bureau Federation, California Farm Bureau Federation, Sacramento County Farm Bureau, Yuba-Sutter Farm Bureau, Yolo County Farm Bureau, California Cattlemen’s Association, Dairy Institute of California, Sacramento County, San Joaquin County, Sutter County, Butte County, and the Sutter Butte Flood Control Agency.

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.

 

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Shifting political winds buffet LaMalfa

Doug LaMalfa Congressman CA

PNP comment: Interesting article trying to address the anger and rage at Town Hall meetings. — Editor Liz Bowen

Record Searchlight Published 5:33 p.m. PT April 21, 2017

Doug LaMalfa, like many other GOP lawmakers, has been buffeted by the changing tides and storms of America’s political mood swings.

For years, he rode a wave of tea party support in the reliably red North State, only to then have the Redding group turn on him two summers ago for not being far enough to the right.

Now, the pressure is coming from the left, as progressive activists mobilize against President Donald Trump’s agenda and rip LaMalfa that he’s out of touch with the needs of residents in the 1st Congressional District.

At ease chatting it up at pancake breakfasts and barbecue cookouts around the district, LaMalfa tried a different format during his spring recess. For the first time in more than four years in the House, the Republican packed large audiences at his town hall meetings. Everywhere they were held, hostile crowds showed up and shouted him down.

Organizing the opposition are the Berniecrats of Shasta County, Indivisible Shasta based in Mount Shasta, Shasta Women Together and Young Democrats of Shasta County, one of the groups leading the March for Science Redding on Saturday.

Throughout his terms, LaMalfa’s politics remain relatively unchanged. Here and nationally, though, Americans are more divided than they were a generation ago. Increasingly strangers to one another, Republicans and Democrats today are less alike ideologically, in race or ethnicity, education or experience, according to a Pew Research study last fall.

What is driving the rigid partisanship on both sides?

“It feels like five parties right now,” said Charles Franklin, a Marquette University Law School professor and pollster. He noted there are vocal right and left wings and the quieter moderates in each of the two parties and the small group of party independents who can swing their votes either way.

For experts like Franklin, the rift started roughly right around the so-called “Republican Revolution” in 1994, when the GOP won control of both houses for the first time in 40 years. The gap, he said, has grown to the point where striving for crossover appeal is wasting time.

“You don’t have to try to win 60 percent of the vote, but 52 percent of the vote will do,” Franklin said about Congress.

So, to see people demonize one another and get out of hand at town halls isn’t a surprise to Rob Stutzman, a Republican strategist in Sacramento.

“This is where the country is after 2016 and a contentious cycle,” he said. “We are in an age of volatility.”

Wednesday, the line to the Sequoia Middle School auditorium snaked around the front of the building. All 590-plus seats were taken five minutes after LaMalfa opened the meeting. Those in the audience came prepared with “agree” and “no” signs they waved as LaMalfa responded to questions.

Outside, critics waiting in line complained LaMalfa does not listen to them and ignores their concerns over climate change, women’s issues, immigration reform and the healthcare fight.

“When we don’t pay attention to the fact that (we all) care, that is when division happens,” said Wendy Sanders, a Redding resident who describes herself as leaning moderately left and focused on problem solving, not party identity. “Everybody brings some truth to an issue.”

But in today’s climate, the problem is that even when people can agree there is a problem, such as the economy, they have radically different approaches to solve the problem, said Mugambi Jouet, a Stanford University Law School lecturer. Jouet has written a book that argues American exceptionalism and conservatism are among root causes of political divisions.

Republicans counter that their representative is responsive and deserves credit for the new direction the country is headed.

It bothers Floyd Noble, 73, of Redding when liberals say Republicans hate poor people. He believes California cannot sustain itself when it doles out more in aid than it receives.

“A lot of these people talk about how they care about the poor. I don’t think they care about the poor. I think they believe those will be voters for them in the next election,” he said.

MORE

http://www.redding.com/story/news/politics/2017/04/21/shifting-political-winds-buffet-lamalfa/100754266/

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, any copyrighted material herein is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

 

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LaMalfa Announces Redding Town Hall Meeting 4-19-17

Doug LaMalfa Congressman CA

(Washington, DC) – Congressman Doug LaMalfa (R-Richvale) issued the following statement after announcing a town hall meeting to take place in Redding, California in April.

LaMalfa said: “I invite residents of Shasta County and surrounding areas to join me at the McLaughlin Auditorium at Sequoia Middle School on April 19th for an in-person town hall meeting. The 115th Congress is well under way, so come prepared to share your ideas and engage in a productive community discussion on our goals moving forward. I look forward to seeing you all there.”

 

Who: Congressman Doug LaMalfa

What: In-person Town Hall meeting

When: Wednesday, April 19, at 5:30PM PST

Where: McLaughlin Auditorium at Sequoia Middle School

1805 Sequoia Street, Redding, CA 96001

 

For questions, please contact Representative LaMalfa’s Redding district office at (530)223-5859 or his Washington, D.C. office at (202)225-3076.

*Note: No large signs, banners, signs with sticks, or weapons of any kind will be permitted on the campus.

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.

 

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LaMalfa, Garamendi introduce bill boosting Sites Reservoir

California Rivers, California water, Doug LaMalfa Congressman CA

LaMalfa, Garamendi introduce bill boosting Sites Reservoir

Chico Enterprise-Record

Two north state congressmen have introduced joint legislation to help get Sites Reservoir built. The proposed reservoir west of Maxwell in Colusa and Glenn counties has been under review for decades, and could get some state funding under Proposition 1, a $7.5 billion water bond approved by voters in 2014.

But the status of necessary federal and state approvals will determine which projects actually get funds. The bill announced Friday by Doug LaMalfa, R-Richvale, and John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove, would accelerate the federal review of Sites Reservoir and improve its chances.

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Congressman LaMalfa grills Dept. of Interior last March 2016

Doug LaMalfa Congressman CA

PNP comment: This was just sent to me even though this was published last year — March 1, 2016!!!

It was over the SECRET meetings being held by the non-profit Klamath River Renewal Corporation, when Sally Jewel was Secretary of the Interior. This is only 5 minutes and well-worth watching LaMalfa hold their feet to the fire!!! WOW.

Way to go Congressman LaMalfa !!!

Rep. Doug LaMalfa

https://youtu.be/1zkEqkh3Shk

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Congressman Doug LaMalfa requests disaster funding

Doug LaMalfa Congressman CA

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

 

President Trump:

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.

 

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