Energy & Environment

Trump doubles down, blaming California’s water policies for wildfires

President Trump doubled down on his criticism of California Gov. Jerry Brown (D), saying Monday that the state’s water management policies are responsible for deadly wildfires.

“Governor Jerry Brown must allow the Free Flow of the vast amounts of water coming from the North and foolishly being diverted into the Pacific Ocean,” Trump tweeted. “Can be used for fires, farming and everything else. Think of California with plenty of Water – Nice! Fast Federal govt. Approvals.”


Trump said Sunday that too much water from the northern part of the state is being allowed to flow into the Pacific Ocean, instead of being captured or redirected to use for firefighting, agriculture or other purposes.

The president’s remarks echo long-standing Republican arguments that environmental policies like the Endangered Species Act make it harder for California to hold onto its water. Congressional Republicans for years have pushed for policies to direct more water into storage or to the southern part of the state.

But fire officials have generally not complained that they are running out of water to fight the blazes.

California is experiencing one of the worst wildfire seasons in its history. The blazes have killed several people and burned hundreds of thousands of acres.

The Mendocino Complex fire is now the second-largest since record-keeping began, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Lynette Round, spokeswoman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, told the San Francisco Chronicle on Monday that she is not aware of water shortages for firefighting.
LeRoy Westerling, a professor at the University of California, Merced, who studies wildfires and climatology, told the Chronicle that Trump’s tweet on Sunday “boggles the mind.”
“Even if we eliminated all habitat for riparian species and fish, and allowed saltwater intrusion into the delta and set up a sprinkler system over the state, that wouldn’t compensate for greater moisture loss from climate change,” he said.
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke on Monday cited California’s wildfires when he called for policies that would allow loggers to remove more trees.
“The overload of dead and diseased timber in the forests makes the fires worse and more deadly. We must be able to actively manage our forests and not face frivolous litigation when we try to remove these fuels,” he tweeted.
Trump made a similar argument Sunday when he tweeted: “Must also tree clear to stop fire spreading.”
Tags Donald Trump Firefighting Ryan Zinke Trump tweets Wildfire
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