Harris introduces bill to prevent California wildfires

Harris introduces bill to prevent California wildfires
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Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisYang expands campaign with senior hires for digital operations Biden: All-white debate not representative of party, but 'you can't dictate' nominee Delaney to DNC: Open second debate stage for candidates who qualified for past events MORE (D-Calif.) and Rep. Jared HuffmanJared William HuffmanPelosi heading to Madrid for UN climate change convention Harris introduces bill to prevent California wildfires Overnight Energy: Fight between EPA watchdog, agency lawyers heats up | Top EPA official under investigation over document destruction | DOJ issues subpoenas to automakers in California emissions pact MORE (D-Calif.) have introduced legislation that would funnel $1 billion each year toward battling wildfires in California and elsewhere after a series of blazes have spread across the Golden State in recent weeks.

The bill would give communities up to $10 million to spend on wildfire defense — efforts that could range from bolstering evacuation plans to hardening infrastructure and deploying alternative energy sources that could help avoid fires sparked by utilities.

“As we continue to combat climate change and address other root causes of these fires, we must also invest in our communities and provide them with the resources to strengthen their readiness,” Harris said in a statement. “We know that more fires are coming, and we know what works to keep communities safe and help firefighters do their jobs — so let’s take action to get it done.”


Last year’s fires cost a record $24 billion, and the California lawmakers argue that governments will save money in the long run by investing in mitigation. 

The legislation comes as others in the California delegation have eyed solutions for battling wildfires. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyCNN Pelosi town hall finishes third in cable news ratings race, draws 1.6M Economy adds 266K jobs in November, blowing past expectations The Hill's Morning Report — Pelosi makes it official: Trump will be impeached MORE (R-Calif.) has promised to deliver a GOP fix for wildfires and Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinGiffords, Demand Justice to pressure GOP senators to reject Trump judicial pick Senate confirms Trump pick labeled 'not qualified' by American Bar Association Feinstein endorses Christy Smith for Katie Hill's former House seat MORE (D-Calif.) has likewise said she is working on legislation.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says he will 'temporarily hold off' on declaring Mexican drug cartels as terror organization House Judiciary Committee formally receives impeachment report Artist behind gold toilet offered to Trump sells banana duct-taped to a wall for 0,000 MORE has often criticized California responses to wildfires, saying the state should do a better job clearing brush and raking in order to prevent fires. 

Friday’s legislation follows another bill from Harris introduced Wednesday that she said would “ensure that publicly-traded utility companies going through bankruptcy — like PG&E — cannot reward their executives with bonuses or trips.”

PG&E, a major California utility company blamed for sparking several fires, has periodically cut off service, leaving large areas of the state in blackout.