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Harris introduces bill to prevent California wildfires

Harris introduces bill to prevent California wildfires
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Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisMiddle East: Quick start for Biden diplomacy Hillicon Valley: GOP chairman says defense bill leaves out Section 230 repeal | Senate panel advances FCC nominee | Krebs says threats to election officials 'undermining democracy' Top intelligence official says China targeting foreign influence at incoming Biden administration MORE (D-Calif.) and Rep. Jared HuffmanJared William HuffmanBickering Democrats return with divisions Lobbying world OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Democrats push expansion of offshore wind, block offshore drilling with ocean energy bill | Poll: Two-thirds of voters support Biden climate plan | Biden plan lags Green New Deal in fighting emissions from homes 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.”

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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 McCarthyPelosi, Schumer endorse 8 billion plan as basis for stimulus talks Hoyer releases 2021 House calendar Ronna McDaniel launches bid for third term as GOP chair MORE (R-Calif.) has promised to deliver a GOP fix for wildfires and Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinCriminal justice groups offer support for Durbin amid fight for Judiciary spot Bottom line Incoming Congress looks more like America MORE (D-Calif.) has likewise said she is working on legislation.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpFederal watchdog accuses VOA parent company of wrongdoing under Trump appointee Lawsuit alleges 200K Georgia voters were wrongly purged from registration list Ivanka Trump gives deposition in lawsuit alleging misuse of inauguration funds 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.