Eshoo, Panetta, Padilla, Kiley, Schiff, Carbajal, And Sherman Lead Bipartisan Letter With 50 California Lawmakers Urging President Biden To Grant Major Disaster Declaration

January 13, 2023
Press Release

PALO ALTO, C.A. – U.S. Representative Anna G. Eshoo (CA-16), U.S. Representative Jimmy Panetta (CA-19) and U.S. Senator Alex Padilla (D-CA) authored a bipartisan letter co-led by Representative Kevin Kiley (CA-03), Representative Adam Schiff (CA-30), Representative Salud Carbajal (CA-24), and Representative Brad Sherman (CA-32) with the majority of California lawmakers urging President Joe Biden to issue a major disaster declaration for the State of California in response to recent severe weather. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi (CA-11) are cosigners of the letter. A major disaster declaration for California would provide a wide range of federal assistance programs for individuals and public infrastructure, including funds for both emergency and permanent work from FEMA and other federal agencies.

California has experienced multiple severe recent weather events, including as many as ten strong atmospheric rivers and a bomb cyclone system, which have caused significant and widespread flooding, mudslides, erosion, sinkholes, power outages, and evacuations for thousands of Californians across the state.  In addition to extensive physical damages, these weather events have claimed the lives of multiple individuals.  At one point, more than 34 million Californians, which makes up nearly 90% of the state’s population, were under a flood watch and over 400,000 individuals had no electricity, threatening their livelihood and quality of life.  On January 9, 2023, the state experienced its highest level of evacuation orders, impacting nearly 100,000 individuals, with an additional 56,000 individuals under evacuations orders.

“The magnitude of these weather systems has placed a severe strain on California’s resources and its ability to swiftly protect public health and safety,” the Members wrote.  “Although the state has invested more than $738 million in flood protection programs in the last two years alone, it has been and continues to be increasingly difficult for the state and local governments to obtain the necessary resources to respond to the devastation caused by these storms.

The Members continued, “The size and scope of these storms require additional coordination and a wider range of long-term federal recovery programs. Therefore, we urge you to approve California’s request for a major disaster declaration.”

Additional Members signing the letter include: Reps. Pete Aguilar (CA-33), Nanette Barragán (CA-44), Ami Bera (CA-06), Julia Brownley (CA-26), Tony Cárdenas (CA-29), Judy Chu (CA- 28), J. Correa (CA-46), Jim Costa (CA-21), Mark DeSaulnier (CA-10), John Garamendi (CA-08), Mike Garcia (CA-27), Robert Garcia (CA-42), Jimmy Gomez (CA-34), Josh Harder (CA-09), Jared Huffman (CA-02), Darrell Issa (CA-48), Sara Jacobs (CA-51), Sydney Kamlager-Dove (CA-37), Ro Khanna (CA-17), Young Kim (CA-40), Doug LaMalfa (CA-01), Barbara Lee (CA-12), Ted Lieu (CA-36), Zoe Lofgren (CA-18), Doris Matsui (CA-07), Tom McClintock (CA-05), Kevin Mullin (CA-15), Grace Napolitano (CA-31), Jay Obernolte (CA-23) Scott Peters (CA-50), Katie Porter (CA-47), Raul Ruiz (CA-25), Linda Sánchez (CA-38), Brad Sherman (CA-32), Michelle Steel (CA-45), Eric Swalwell (CA-14), Mark Takano (CA-39), Mike Thompson (CA-04), Norma Torres (CA-35), David Valadao (CA-22), and Juan Vargas (CA-52).

Read the full letter here and below.

Dear President Biden:

As members of the California Congressional Delegation, we write to request that you grant the State of California’s request for a major disaster declaration in response to recent winter storms, flooding, and mudslides.  This severe weather and the resulting disasters began on December 24, 2022, and are currently ongoing.  The intensity and damage of these storms require federal assistance, coordination, and action to supplement state and local efforts.

These recent weather events, which include as many as ten strong atmospheric rivers and a bomb cyclone system, have caused significant and widespread flooding, mudslides, erosion, sinkholes, power outages, and evacuations for thousands of Californians across the state.  In addition to extensive physical damages, these weather events have claimed the lives of multiple individuals.  At one point, more than 34 million Californians, nearly 90% of the state’s population, were under a flood watch and over 400,000 individuals had no electricity, threatening their livelihood and quality of life.  On January 9, 2023, the state experienced its highest level of evacuation orders, impacting nearly 100,000 individuals, with an additional 56,000 individuals under evacuation orders.

As detailed in California’s request, these consecutive severe storms have resulted in significant flooding and other impacts in 49 counties: Alameda, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, Contra Costa, El Dorado, Fresno, Glenn, Humboldt, Kings, Inyo, Lake, Los Angeles, Madera, Marin, Mariposa, Mendocino, Merced, Mono, Monterey, Napa, Nevada, Orange, Placer, Riverside, Sacramento, San Benito, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Francisco, San Joaquin, San Luis Obispo, San Mateo, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Siskiyou, Solano, Sonoma, Stanislaus, Sutter, Tehama, Trinity, Tulare, Tuolumne, Ventura, Yolo, and Yuba Counties.

The magnitude of these weather systems has placed a severe strain on California’s resources and its ability to swiftly protect public health and safety.  Although the state has invested more than $738 million in flood protection programs in the last two years alone, it has been and continues to be increasingly difficult for the state and local governments to obtain the necessary resources to respond to the devastation caused by these storms.

The size and scope of these storms require additional coordination and a wider range of long-term federal recovery programs. Therefore, we urge you to approve California’s request for an expedited major disaster declaration and expeditiously provide all categories of public assistance, individual assistance, and direct federal assistance for all counties set forth in the Governor’s request, as well as hazard mitigation statewide.

Sincerely,

 

###