WASHINGTON (CBS13) – President Donald Trump said he’s ordered FEMA to cut off money to California over his criticism of forest management.
In a tweet Wednesday morning, Trump continued his line of criticism he’s repeated since fire season: that improper forest management, not climate change, is to blame for the destructive wildfires California has seen recently.
“Billions of dollars are sent to the State of California for Forest fires that, with proper Forest Management, would never happen. Unless they get their act together, which is unlikely, I have ordered FEMA to send no more money. It is a disgraceful situation in lives & money!” Trump tweeted.
New California governor Gavin Newsom responded to Trump’s tweet, saying politicians shouldn’t be playing games with lives.
“Disasters and recovery are no time for politics. I’m already taking action to modernize and manage our forests and emergency responses,” Gov. Newsom tweeted. “The people of CA — folks in Paradise — should not be victims to partisan bickering.”
Trump visited California in February and toured the destruction left by the Camp Fire in Butte County.
The president approved a federal disaster declaration after the fire, but not before criticizing forest management and threatening to cut off federal payments to California.
“We do have to do management, maintenance, and we’ll be working also with environmental groups,” Trump said after the meeting with then-Gov. Jerry Brown and Gov.-elect Newsom.
In his first full day in office on Tuesday, Gov. Newsom pledged tens of millions of dollars to fight wildfires and deal with the aftermath.
“We are at a point where everybody’s had enough and we need to, I think, make sure we are prepared more than ever for the next few months as we enter into the height of our fire season,” Newsom said at a press conference with California’s Office of Emergency Services officials.
The $305 million plan would fund new helicopters, planes, infrared cameras and new communications equipment. About two-thirds of the funding already has been approved.
Newsom is also pushing to digitize the 911 system using a fee.