August 6, 2021
Weideman Group Weekly

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Wildfire Response

Governor Newsom has declared a state of emergency in Siskiyou, Nevada and Placer counties as a result of the Antelope and River fires. By declaring a state of emergency, the state is able to tap into an abundance of mutual aid, including FEMA grants, that will bolster response efforts. The two fires combined have destroyed hundreds of thousands of acres and numerous structures in Northern California. Meanwhile, the nearby Dixie Fire, which has grown to be the third largest in California history, has destroyed the town of Greenville.

Pollution Standards

President Joe Biden unveiled strengthened car pollution standards through 2026. The new standards, seen as a compromise between environmentalists and the auto industry, replace weakened standards from the last administration. The standards will tighten pollution for cars over a four year period, requiring about 40 miles per gallon by 2026. President Biden also signed an executive order setting a goal that half of cars and trucks sold in the U.S. by 2030 would be zero-emission vehicles, including plug-in hybrids, battery electric vehicles, and hydrogen fuel cells.

Worsening Drought

The State Water Resources Control Board passed an emergency regulation this week allowing them to curtail diversion of water from the Sacramento – San Joaquin watershed. The regulation will require reporting on water use and allows the Board to issue emergency curtailments to water rights holders, mostly Central Valley farms. The state has only curtailed water rights three times before this drought and state officials are calling the scope of this order, which will affect senior water rights holders across large swaths of the state, unprecedented. Additionally, one of the state’s largest reservoirs, Lake Oroville, reached its lowest level in decades this week. The lake is home to a hydroelectric generating plant that has been shut down due to extremely low water levels.

Newsom Fundraising Advantage

Backers of the Governor have been writing large checks to help him beat the recall. Newsom has raised more than $51 million so far. The Governor’s team has been highlighting the fact that they have donors from every state in the nation and they have more than 100 individual donors from every California congressional district. Newsom currently has more than twice as much money as every major Republican candidate and pro-recall committee combined. The recall is scheduled for September 14th.

Vaccination Boost

California has seen an increase in vaccination rates over the last two weeks, up 41%. This news comes as the state is seeing a rise in infections, largely driven by the highly transmittable Delta variant. Following the Governor’s vaccination and testing announcement last week, a growing number of private employers, such as health systems and corporations, are implementing vaccination requirements for their employees and CDPH released an updated order. The order requires that healthcare workers and long term care workers be fully vaccinated by September 30th. Individuals can seek exemption due to religious beliefs or medical reasons but will still be required to wear a mask and test weekly.