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By Chris White
Gov. Jerry Brown asked President Donald Trump for federal funds Friday night to clean up damage a series of deadly storms caused last month that helped end California’s long drought.
Brown is asking the White House for $162 million in federal aid to contend with storms that caused flash floods, power outages, and damage to various state-funded projects.
An “atmospheric river storm system” that unleashed days of “relentless heavy precipitation” caused the damage, the California Democrat wrote in a letter to Trump.
“The impacts associated with this series of storms were substantial and widespread, devastating much of California,” the letter reads.
Brown declared a state of emergency Jan. 23 in 49 counties of California’s 58 counties. He added three more counties to that tally Friday: Amador, Mono and Riverside.
The state’s second-largest reservoir — at nearly 100 percent capacity — is on the verge of bursting its banks after officials cut down use of the Oroville Dam out of concern the structurally weak dam could rupture.
The governor’s prickly relationship with the new commander-in-chief could hamper the funds. Their disagreements stem mostly from Trump’s temporary immigration ban and from his stance on global warming. The governor vowed to maintain California’s sanctuary state status.
“Let me be clear: We will defend everybody — every man, woman and child — who has come here for a better life and has contributed to the well-being of our state,” Brown said in his State of the State address.
Their position on global warming is just as acrimonious. He told reporters in December – before the floods – that he would work directly with other countries to strengthen some of the most stringent environmental policies in the world.
“California can make a significant contribution to advancing the cause of dealing with climate change, irrespective of what goes on in Washington,” Brown said at the time.
Brown has been working to position California, which voted for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton by a wide margin, as the anti-Trump state ever since the real estate tycoon won the presidency.
The governor made similar comments in earlier that month when he said California would launch its own climate-reading satellites if President-elect Donald Trump pulled funding for NASA’s climate research program.
Trump returned volley this past week, calling California “out of control” and threatened to block federal funds to Brown’s state presumably because of the state’s position on illegal immigration.
The back and forth is set to the backdrop of a movement to have California secede from the U.S. So-called Calexit supporters believe they will have enough signatures to qualify for a ballot measure calling for secession.
California does appear willing to accept federal funds for infrastructural improvements, despite state officials recent belligerent attitude toward Trump and his ilk.
State officials, for instance, proposed a list of infrastructure projects on Wednesday that would require $100 billion in federal funds. Most of the projects include improving roads, bridges, levees, ports and public transportation.
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