California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. issued an executive order allowing the federal government to help with the initial removal of hazardous waste that poses an imminent threat to public health and safety.
The executive order allows qualified professionals at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to assist state and local officials in immediately removing visible hazardous debris such as batteries, flammable liquids, asbestos siding, paint and pipe insulation from burned homes. Initial removal of these hazards helps protect public health and the environment and allows residents and cleanup crews to more safely enter properties and continue the long-term recovery efforts.
Last week, Governor Brown declared a state of emergency for the counties of Solano, Napa, Sonoma, Yuba, Butte, Lake, Mendocino, Nevada and Orange due to the impacts of numerous wildfires, and this week issued an executive order to cut red tape and help streamline recovery efforts. The Governor has also secured a Presidential Major Disaster Declaration to support the state and local response to the fires, within 24 hours of making the request, and federal direct aid for residents of Napa, Sonoma, Butte, Lake, Mendocino, Yuba, Orange and Nevada counties who have suffered losses due to the fires. Workers in these counties who have lost jobs or had work hours substantially reduced as a result of the fires are also now eligible for federal Disaster Unemployment Assistance benefits.
Last week, Governor Brown traveled to areas impacted by the fires with U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris and joined the state’s top emergency management officials for a briefing at the State Operations Center in Mather, and this week met with the FEMA administrator to discuss ongoing wildfire response and recovery efforts and visited firefighters and first responders in Orange County.