Kamala Harris photo

ICYMI: Vice President Harris Visited San Bernardino and Highlighted the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law's Investments in Wildfire Mitigation

January 22, 2022

The Vice President announced $1.3 billion in disaster relief funding for the U.S. Forest Service and $48 million for restoration projects

Yesterday, Vice President Kamala Harris and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack traveled to San Bernardino, California, and highlighted the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law's wildfire investments. This visit was a part of the Vice President's continued efforts to advocate for the Administration's policies that take climate action and advance environmental justice.

While in San Bernardino, the Vice President participated in an aerial tour of forest lands, received a 2022 Wildfire Outlook Briefing, and delivered remarks about the Administration's commitment to making Americans more prepared and resilient against wildfires and how the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will make historic investments in wildfire mitigation. She also announced $1.3 billion in disaster relief funding for the U.S. Forest Service, including $600 million in California, and $48 million in funding for Joint Chief's Landscape Restoration Partnership projects, including 4 projects in California. Vice President Harris and Secretary Vilsack were joined by Governor Gavin Newsom, Senator Alex Padilla, and Representative Pete Aguilar.

See below for coverage of yesterday's visit:

LA Times: Kamala Harris announces wildfire money in California visit
[Alex Wigglesworth and Melanie Mason, 1/21/22]

With large, damaging wildfires becoming more common due to the effects of climate change, the federal government is redoubling its efforts to mitigate them. That's the message Vice President Kamala Harris delivered Friday during a visit to San Bernardino in which she highlighted billions of dollars in federal funding to reduce the risk of wildfires and help communities recover from them.

"It is about recognizing that we cannot, as a government or as a society or people who care, only respond in reaction to a moment of harm or danger," said Harris, who appeared alongside a host of officials including Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and California Gov. Gavin Newsom. "We must also be able to use technology and common sense and the expertise of those on the ground to understand we have the tools to predict these wildfires ahead of time."

The federal government will provide $600 million in disaster money to help California recover from a historically severe wildfire season that saw fires scorch nearly 2.6 million acres and burn from one side of the Sierra Nevada to the other for the first time — and then the second time. That money is part of a $1.3-billion commitment to local communities across the country to help clean up hazardous materials, restore forests and repair infrastructure damaged by wildfires, Harris said.

Axios: Kamala Harris announces $600 million toward California wildfire recovery
[Kierra Frazier, 1/21/22]

Vice President Kamala Harris announced Friday that the administration is committing $1.3 billion to disaster relief funding, including $600 million for California.

The big picture: Harris visited a fire station in San Bernardino, California as part of the Biden administration's effort to display the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure deal. Harris announced that the $600 million funding would go to California after the state saw nearly 7 million acres lost due to wildfires in the past two years, Gov. Gavin Newsom said.

What she's saying: "Specifically, there will be $5 billion and more actually for wildfire preparedness and resilience. And it will include and this requires its own conversation, a pay raise for our federal firefighters," Harris said. "This is a subject that requires us to understand that when we as a country get in front of an issue, it is not because of any one leader or any one approach is because there's collaboration is because there's a recognition that the work that happens on the ground usually requires great skill. skill and hard work that should be rewarded," she added.

The Press-Enterprise: Vice President Kamala Harris announces $600 million to fix wildfire damage in California
[Jeff Horseman, 1/21/22]

Vice President Kamala Harris visited a San Bernardino fire station Friday, Jan. 21, to announce $600 million in federal dollars to restore damage from wildfires that have burned millions of acres in California since 2020.

"We are our best when local, state and federal (governments) work together hand in hand, unencumbered by politics or partisanship," Harris said on a windy afternoon at the U.S. Forest Service's Del Rosa Fire Station just south of the San Bernardino National Forest.

She singled out California's firefighters for praise, saying they "serve so selflessly, with such incredible courage and commitment to their community."

KABC 7: Kamala Harris: VP talks wildfires, voting rights, immigration in ABC7 exclusive interview during her visit to Southern California
[Ellen Levya, 1/21/22]

Vice President Kamala Harris visited Southern California on Friday as part of an official trip to promote the Biden administration's infrastructure bill, and to talk about funding that would go toward helping battle wildfires in the region.

Harris, and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, took an aerial tour of the San Bernardino National Forest. They were briefed on the wildfire outlook for 2022. Harris announced that the recently passed infrastructure law includes $600 million dollars in disaster relief funding for California, to help areas impacted by wildfires.

"Firefighters need to be better paid. That's real, right. They're out there risking their lives," Harris said. "Some have paid the ultimate sacrifice to fight these fires and we should pay them their values."

CBS Los Angeles: VP Kamala Harris Visits San Bernardino To Tout $600M In Wildfire Recovery Money For Calif.
[CBS LA Staff, 1/21/22]

Vice President Kamala Harris made a visit to San Bernardino Friday to announce hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding to California for wildfire recovery efforts.

"We are talking with homeowners and reaching out to communities to figure out how we can support them to create a community that is less likely to be so significantly damaged if a fire should hit," said Harris.

The Vice President also visited a fire station in San Bernardino, where she announced that the federal government is providing California with $600 million in funding to recover from the 2021 wildfire season, one of the most devastating on record.

Fox 11 Los Angeles: VP Harris visits San Bernardino, announces $1 billion in disaster relief funds
[Fox Digital Team, 1/21/22]

Vice President Kamala Harris visited Southern California Friday and brought millions of dollars of aid to the golden state. Harris and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack visited San Bernardino County to announce over $1billion in disaster relief funds for the USDA Forest Service to support post-wildfire and hurricane recovery and restoration across the country. The program includes nearly $600 million for recovery efforts in California following the devastating 2020 and 2021 fire years.

The money will be used for hazardous material cleanup, reforestation, watershed restoration, and infrastructure repair including for trails, roads, bridges and facilities. The funds will put towards the communities hit hardest by wildfires. In brief remarks, the vice president hailed the work of firefighters. She said the government is "putting the resources where they are needed" in the battle against fires and climate change.

Los Angeles Magazine: Madam VP Kamala Harris Returns Home to California to Fight Fires
[Sam Youngman, 1/21/22]

[…] One of those successes was the $1.2 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which included more than $5 billion to reduce and fight wildfires. Harris was scheduled to visit the U.S. Forest Service's Del Rosa Fire Station in San Bernardino where she'll receive an aerial briefing and tour of the national forest, according to the White House.

As part of the event, Harris, along with Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack, will announce $1.3 billion in disaster relief funding, which includes $600 billion for California, and $48 million for Joint Chief's Landscape Restoration Partnership, which includes four projects in California aimed at combating the ravages of climate change.

"As a California native, Vice President Harris brings her lived experience and expertise to addressing the issues that are most acute in, but not exclusive to, the West, including wildfire and drought," the White House said.

Kamala Harris, ICYMI: Vice President Harris Visited San Bernardino and Highlighted the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law's Investments in Wildfire Mitigation Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/354220

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