In light of the possibility of another winter with potentially record-setting rainfall and snow, California Governor Gavin Newsom took proactive measures by signing an executive order on Friday. The order aims to prepare the state for the upcoming wet season by expediting levee repairs and debris removal in areas that were heavily impacted by precipitation during the previous winter.
According to the governor’s office, California experienced over 30 atmospheric rivers since December 2022, resulting in significant impacts across the state, including record or near-record levels of snow in the Sierra Nevada.
To ensure communities are better prepared and protected, the executive order prioritizes the swift repair of damaged levees, which can weaken protection against high water levels. Additionally, the removal of debris and vegetation from river channels is crucial to improve their capacity to handle heavy flows.
The tweet below verifies the news:
The order serves to expedite levee repairs and debris removal to help communities that were inundated with precipitation this winter to get ready for what could come. https://t.co/cKXzULm1EJ
— The Hill (@thehill) August 5, 2023
The order specifically targets regions like the San Joaquin River, the Tulare Lake Basin, the Salinas River, and the Pajaro River, where public agencies will be able to streamline emergency repair work.
To accelerate these repair and removal efforts, certain laws and regulations pertaining to environmental and resource protection requirements have been suspended. This includes the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), which requires environmental impact assessments for various projects.
The suspension, however, applies only to emergency repair and removal work related to existing conveyance and flood-control infrastructure, debris and sediment removal, and vegetation management.
Governor Newsom’s latest action follows his recent efforts to cut red tape associated with infrastructure projects, which were met with opposition from some Democratic colleagues and environmental groups.
By taking these proactive steps, the state aims to mitigate the risk of additional flooding and ensure a smoother recovery from any potential adverse weather events during the fall of 2023.
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