Lawmakers call on Governor Newsom to declare a drought state of emergency

California

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KRON) – Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are calling on Governor Newsom to declare a water shortage state of emergency.

This comes as most of the state is seeing dry conditions and water allocation is drying up for farmers across the state.

As California continues to see abnormally dry conditions, about a dozen lawmakers are urging Governor Newsom to declare a drought-related state of emergency.

“This is the slowest, most foreseeable train wreck imaginable,” State Senator Andreas Borgeas, R-Fresno, said. 

State Senator Andreas Borgeas is one in a bipartisan group of lawmakers who sent a letter to the governor requesting the declaration, a meeting with water resource officials and financial assistance for food producers.

One of the takeaways that I got from your letter is that there are billions of dollars and thousands – tens of thousands – of jobs that are at risk as a result of this water shortage.

“Oh easily, we’re now down to a 5% allocation at the state level and down to status quo Zero at the federal level. So if you were to extrapolate that out and what that means to the farming community which has to make real-time decisions now, do they plant, do they take out, do they allow to follow, this is not a situation where you can wait till the zenith of the drought,” Borgeas said.

By issuing a state of emergency, lawmakers say it would incentivize water conservation across California and relax rules and regulations to give state agencies more flexibility to deal with the dry conditions.

The request comes about a month after the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture declared 50 of California’s 58 counties as primary natural disaster areas due to recent drought.

But following the flags from the Biden administration and now state lawmakers, this week, Governor Newsom said he’s not yet ready to declare a state of emergency.

“We’re preparing to do many things as it relates to preparing ourselves for the reality formally of second drought conditions. As it relates to the specific declaration of emergency which has all kinds of component parts, we are not prepared to do that at this moment,” Newsom said. 

Newsom says his administration will be making announcements on action relating to this issue in the coming days.

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