Last week President Donald Trump signed a $19.1 billion dollar disaster relief bill aimed to support Californians and other Americans impacted by recent disasters. 

“Natural disasters fueled by climate change have wreaked havoc on nearly every corner of the United States in recent years,” said Congressman John Garamendi, California’s Third District representative, who voted yes on the bill when it passed through the House of Representatives. “This legislation provides critical services to help communities recover from recent disasters and to prepare for any similar events in the future.”

Garamendi said the legislation includes a robust $1 billion funding level for the Army Corps of Engineers to address flooding that occurring during this year and last year – which could provide critical support in Lake, Glenn, Butte, and Colusa counties. 

“The bill also includes $720 million for the U.S. Forest Service to strengthen forest management efforts, $3 billion to help local farmers recover from losses sustained by disasters, and $349.4 million to repair local drinking water systems – including the water system in Paradise, CA destroyed by the 2018 Camp Fire,” Garamendi said.

While Colusa County is not specifically listed as an aid recipient in the declaration due to a House of Representative band on earmarked funds several years ago, Eric Olsen, communications director for Garamendi, assures that Colusa County will receive disaster relief funding because Garamendi joined his California Congressional colleagues in April to petitioning the President to grant the state a Presidential emergency declaration based on Governor Gavin Newsom’s declaration that was issued earlier this year and Colusa County was listed by name on both of these declarations. 

“That request for a Presidential emergency declaration for Colusa and the other counties named in California’s emergency proclamation was granted following Garamendi’s letter with his fellow California delegation Representatives to President Trump,” Olsen said. “That allows Colusa to become eligible for the funds in this bill.”

Olsen said the damage included in the declarations is mostly flooding and structural damage that occurred during heavy winter storms in April. 

“I was proud to work with my colleagues in the California delegation to secure Presidential approval of Governor Newsom’s major disaster declaration, which will unlock crucial funding to support Lake, Glenn, and Colusa counties in my district,” Garamendi said. “Many Americans are still toiling with the effects of natural disasters, and thousands more could be impacted as we enter fire and hurricane season.”

The funding provided by this bill is designated as emergency spending, which is exempt from discretionary spending limits and other budget enforcement rules. The legislation also reauthorizes the National Flood Insurance Program through Sept. 30, 2019.

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