Trump threatens to withhold aid from California fires, Latest World News - The New Paper

Trump threatens to withhold aid from California fires

This article is more than 12 months old

WASHINGTON : US President Donald Trump threatened once again on Sunday to withhold federal aid from California after its Democratic governor criticised his environmental policies.

Over the past two weeks, fires have ravaged nearly 40,000ha in the sprawling western state.

On Sunday, firefighters were battling the Maria Fire, about 100km north-west of Los Angeles.

Taking a line of attack he first used last year when fires killed 86 people in northern California, Mr Trump blamed Governor Gavin Newsom, saying he had done "a terrible job of forest management".

"Every year, as the fire's (sic) rage & California burns, it is the same thing-and then he comes to the Federal Government for $$$ help. No more. Get your act together Governor," he said on Twitter.

Mr Newsom, responding on Twitter, brushed off Mr Trump's criticism in a terse 12 words: "You don't believe in climate change. You are excused from this conversation."

Mr Newsom had offered a fuller critique in a recent interview with The New York Times, pointing to Mr Trump's roll-back of environmental protections.

"We're waging war against the most destructive fires in our state's history," he said, "and Trump is conducting a full-on assault against the antidote."

The President has on several occasions openly questioned the scientific consensus that human activity causes changes in the climate, and notably the drought that has contributed to the California fires.

His administration decided on Sept 18 to revoke California's authority to set its own standards for automobile pollution.

Mr Newsom criticised the Republican government's ambivalence in dealing with the disasters.

"Last night they approved seven additional emergency grants in record time," Mr Newsom told the Times.

"But what's so insidious, and what's so remarkable is that he's doing everything right to respond to these disasters and everything wrong to address what's happening to cause them."

Far from the political struggles, firefighters were continuing to press their fight against the Maria Fire, which they said Sunday is now 50 per cent contained, and the Kincade Fire north of San Francisco, now 76 per cent contained.- AFP