Trump Says ‘Bad Environmental Laws’ Made Deadly California Wildfires Even Worse

Michael Bastasch | Contributor

President Donald Trump blamed “bad environmental laws” for making wildfires spreading across California “much worse,” in a Sunday tweet.

Trump wrote these laws “aren’t allowing massive amount of readily available water to be properly utilized,” which is instead “being diverted into the Pacific Ocean. Must also tree clear to stop fire spreading!”

Persistent heat, dry condition and winds have fueled several major wildfires across California, the biggest of which is the Carr Fire that’s scorched more than 140,000 acres and killed seven people. (RELATED: NYT Claims ‘Global Greening’ From CO2 Is ‘Terrible,’ Gets Owned)

State officials said the Carr Fire was sparked in late July by a flat tire on a trailer scraping against the asphalt on a road near Redding, California.

California Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, blamed man-made global warming for the state’s rash of intense fires in the last couple of years, however, wildfire experts and conservatives tend to blame poor land management policies coupled with the expansion of human development into fire-prone areas.

That’s likely what Trump is referring to when he tweeted “[m]ust also tree clear to stop fire spreading!” Thinning of trees and removing of dead vegetation and brush can help mitigate wildfires.

What’s not a clear link to wildfires, however, is Trump’s referral to California water supplies being diverted into the ocean. He’s likely referring to the diverting of water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta into the ocean to protect the delta smelt, an endangered fish.

Republicans and farmers have complained about management of the smelt population for years because precious water was being pumped out to sea instead of going towards other uses, including agriculture.

Those concerns were magnified during the recent multi-year drought, and recent population surveys show fresh water diversion has not been enough to keep smelt populations from declining.

However, it’s unclear how diverting water into the Pacific Ocean affects wildfires in California. Trump also lambasted policies forcing river water to be diverted during the 2016 campaign.

“Is there a drought?” Trump said at a rally in Fresno that year. “No, we have plenty of water,” adding “[w]e shove it out to sea.”

Trump approved disaster declarations for the Carr Fire, making it easier for state and federal officials to share resources and coordinate a response.

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