Senate Republican Leader Bates Partners with Governor Brown and Legislative Leaders to Address the Impacts of Natural Disasters and Climate Change

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

SACRAMENTO – Following a year of devastating floods, fires, mudslides and other extreme weather, Senate Republican Leader Patricia Bates (R-Laguna Niguel) joined Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. and other legislative leaders: Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles), Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood), Assembly Republican Leader Brian Dahle (R-Bieber) and Senate President pro Tempore-designate Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) in partnering on solutions this year that will make California more resilient against the impacts of natural disasters and climate change.

“It is critical we take strong and comprehensive action to protect all Californians from the threat of natural disasters and climate change,” said the leaders.

The administration will work closely with legislative leaders and the Joint Legislative Committee on Emergency Management, as well as the relevant standing policy committees to craft solutions to:

  • Modernize vegetation and forest management practices for fire prevention and carbon sequestration;
  • Ensure utility and public infrastructure is designed, constructed and operated to maximize resiliency to extreme weather events and natural disasters;
  • Enhance the emergency response system, including consideration of mutual aid resources, telecommunications, 911 systems, and community needs, particularly in low-income and vulnerable rural and urban communities;
  • Examine the availability of insurance products in high wildfire areas in light of increased risks from climate change, and;
  • Update liability rules and regulations for utility services in light of changing climate and the increased severity and frequency of weather events.

This work will give state and local governments effective tools to reduce risks and enhance the resiliency of communities and infrastructure. It builds on the ongoing work by the Legislature and administration – alongside the federal government, private sector, non-governmental organizations, community members and other stakeholders – to improve fire threat evaluation, hazard mitigation, carbon storage capacity and tree mortality and forest management practices.

Eight of the state’s most destructive fires have occurred in the past five years. This winter’s Thomas fire in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties was the largest in recorded history. The mudslides that followed were among the most lethal the state has ever encountered.