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Newsom signs $15 billion climate bill

Governor enacts further climate change measures while touring scene of California's latest major wildfire

VISALIA, Calif. (KYMA, KECY) - Gov. Gavin Newsom, (D-Calif), on Thursday traveled to the scene of the massive KNP Complex Fire to sign the largest climate change package in California's history.

The measure carries a price tag of more than $15 billion. It includes $988 million for wildfire prevention and restoration. Another $5.2 billion is dedicated to drought relief, expanding water supplies, and improving water infrastructure, particularly in small and disadvantaged communities. The package devotes another $3.7 billion to assisting communities most impacted by extreme heat, as well as those threatened by rising sea levels.

Another $1.1 billion will finance climate-smart agriculture. This includes supporting sustainable farming practices, like healthy soil management, and methane reduction. It will also help farmers replace aging equipment with cleaner technology. The legislation also funds the expansion of programs providing healthy food to school-age children and senior citizens.

The climate package allots $3.9 billion to support the state's Zero-Emission Vehicle goals. The state will use part of those funds to replace transit and school buses, tractor-trailers, and other large vehicles, with electric models. It will also provide rebates for private drivers who choose to buy electric vehicles.

Gov. Newsom said the package aims to serve the Golden State well into the future.

"To future-proof California. And that's what this bill begins to do. Not just to climate-proof, but to future-proof California. To make us more resilient. Make us more capable of addressing these extremes," the governor said.

Newsom also called on federal politicians to follow California's lead.

"This is real. We need you to put down the swords rhetorically and otherwise get the damn job done. Support the state, our nation, your national forests. Support your kids and grandkids. Protect lifestyles and memories. Places. Communities support this package, support an unprecedented investment into our kids and grandkids future, if not now, what in the hell are we going to do it? What more evidence do you need of a world that's heating up and our kids that are choking up? And a growing number of acres and communities and states burning up?"

Gov. Gavin Newsom comments on climate change after signing historic climate legislation:

Gov. Newsom held his press conference from the edge of the KNP Complex Fire. The fire has charred more than 30,000 acres in the the Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park and Sequoia National Forest since it started on September 11 . More than 1,500 firefighters are currently on scene.

Wildfires have burned more than 2.3 million acres of land across the state so far this year. Fire officials have recorded more than 7,600 individual fires. Nearly 3,300 buildings have been lost to the flames.

Article Topic Follows: California Politics

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Lisa Sturgis

Lisa Sturgis Lisa got her first job in TV news at KYMA in 1987.


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