Trump Approves Aid for California's Disastrous February

by | April 3, 2017

By Filipa Ioannou

Federal disaster relief will be available for 42 California counties to help repair hundreds of millions of dollars in damage incurred by February's flooding, storms and mudslides, the Federal Emergency Management Agency said Sunday.

The funds will also help bankroll repairs to the damaged Oroville Dam spillway.

President Trump approved Gov. Jerry Brown's request for a presidential major disaster declaration, making the counties eligible for FEMA funding to cover 75 percent of the cost of debris removal, repair to roads and other public property, and hazard mitigation to guard against destruction from future storms, according to FEMA.

The counties eligible for federal funding include Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz and Sonoma.

In a March 19 letter to Trump requesting an emergency declaration, Brown wrote that "the widespread damage" from February flooding "was constant and continuous," with damage estimated at more than half a billion dollars.

Earlier this year, Brown sought two other major disaster declarations and one emergency declaration from the president to deal with damage from January storms and the Oroville Dam crisis. All three requests were granted.

From Feb. 1 to 23, levees breached, rivers flooded, mudslides damaged roadways and bridges, wind and rain caused power failures that left more than 110,000 households and businesses without power, and eight people died, Brown wrote.

The governor cited several Bay Area examples of the storm's devastation of public infrastructure, including a sewage spill in San Mateo County, canal failure and highway flooding in Santa Clara County, and a water main failure in Contra Costa County that left 1,000 residents without access to clean water.

(c)2017 the San Francisco Chronicle