Saturday, November 01, 2003

Bush administration ignored California's request to clear dead trees back in April

From the headlines of the San Francisco Chronicle:

Sacramento -- California officials accused the Bush administration Thursday of ignoring urgent pleas months ago for emergency help to remove beetle-infested trees that experts warned could fuel a catastrophic Southern California fire.

The U.S. Senate passed controversial legislation Thursday allowing the thinning of forests across the West, and another debate erupted over whether dire warnings about a bark beetle infestation were ignored in Washington. In April, Gov. Gray Davis requested $430 million to remove unhealthy trees on 415, 000 acres of forest, but the request for emergency funds went unanswered until last week -- and then was denied.

"There was a reason the governor requested the declaration,'' said Davis spokesman Steve Maviglio. "And I'm sure there are a lot of families without homes that are disappointed it wasn't approved.''

Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer, speaking in the Senate during Thursday's debate on the "Healthy Forests'' bill, complained that President Bush had failed to act on the state's request for help and that now Californians were suffering.

"We named three of the four counties that are up in smoke, and we begged him to declare a disaster, we begged him,'' Boxer said before the bill passed 80-14. "We saw this coming a mile away.''

Read the rest of the story at:
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2003/10/31/MNG3S2NI081.DTL

Read the AP version of the story at:
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/news/archive/2003/10/31/state0516EST7690.DTL

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E.P. Saturday, November 01, 2003