SACRAMENTO — California lawmakers are targeting the expected windfall that companies in the state would see under the federal tax overhaul with a bill that would require businesses to turn over half to the state.”
After raging through almost all of December, the so-called Thomas fire, California’s largest wildfire ever recorded, was finally contained on January 12. While the worst is behind us (for now), the fact that last year’s wildfires so violently spun out of control puts the spotlight on the Golden State’s government and its lack of fire prevention measures.
The fires across the state caused unprecedented damage and loss of life. Unsurprisingly, California governor Jerry Brown was quick to pin the blame on climate change for the forest fires’ ferocity and extraordinary longevity this season. Whatever truth there may be to this, it would be a mistake to gloss over how misguided policies and regulations have hurt California’s ability to prevent and respond to fires.
According to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE), shrubs and live and dead vegetation are the most important factor in forest fires, being an easily ignitable fuel source that helps spread the flames quickly over vast distances. For a dry and warm state prone to fires, regular clearing measures removing this vegetation should be common sense. However, California has enacted several laws that heavily restrict such vital fire-preventing measures as logging, removal of dead trees, and clearing of dry underbrush.
As Jonah Goldberg noted today in his column titled “Does the California Model Really Work?”
Wealthy liberal Californians can be quite smug about how they can afford their strict land-use policies, draconian environmental regulations, and high taxes. And wealthy Californians can afford them — but poor Californians are paying the price.
Californians of all income levels had their lives disrupted, some tragically so, by December’s fires, but given that Jerry Brown has blamed them on the global warming boogieman, I doubt lefty Californians will be rethinking the destruction caused by their religious environmental beliefs. It’s tempting to quip sometimes you have to fry a few eggs to make an omelet, but to paraphrase Orwell, when does to California get to see the omelet?
(Via Small Dead Animals.)