California’s District 1 Congressman Doug LaMalfa visited Plumas County on Aug. 23, and met with a group of district leaders at the Graeagle Fire Hall. A variety of county supervisors from Lassen, Sierra, and Plumas, as well as industry leaders and educators from all over the county heard LaMalfa’s updates on Washington D.C.
LaMalfa spoke about the divisive attitude in Washington D.C., calling it “the most separated it has ever been,” however, he said the Republican Congress is still getting somethings done including establishment of the new tax regime. He said the constituents in his district will receive an average of $2,088 more dollars a year than in previous tax years.
He also said he was working on a bill to streamline the process of building broadband structure and getting broadband access in rural areas.
The continuous topic of the meeting was the fire situation in the state. LaMalfa said it was a topic he felt strongly about and he wanted to advocate for a forestry policy that centralized fire suppression to one agency in the case of emergencies. He cited instances where the Forest Service sent CalFire away from fires, even though they were shorthanded. He also said the National Parks system held up the process of fire suppression during the Carr Fire due to the archeological significance of the area.
“The National Parks doesn’t get to say what to do on a park when a fire is happening,” said LaMalfa.
“We need to effectively fight fire, not just at the time of the fire, but we need to know how to get ahead of it,” he continued. “We have to do something completely different.”
LaMalfa suggested the use of executive orders, partnerships, and legislative tactics to help solve the problem. He said there is a bill sitting in the Senate right now called the Resilient Forest Federal Act, which provides immediate tools for the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management to begin managing forests, and streamlines the environmental protection requirements
“If you want to help, contact your senator right now and ask them to pass that bill,” he said.
LaMalfa also fielded questions concerning broadband access, NEPA requirements during forest fires, job creation, housing crisis management and the legalization of cannabis.