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Environmentalists Criticize Calif. Gov. Gavin Newsom's Early Wildfire Emergency Declaration


California Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a statewide emergency on wildfires today [Friday]. Capital Public Radio's Ezra David Romero reports.

Newsom made the declaration in Lake County, which has been devastated by recent wildfires. The executive order expedites forest-thinning projects that could help protect 200 communities in fire prone parts of the state.

Some environmental groups applaud the decision. Jay Ziegler is with The Nature Conservancy.

[ZIEGLER] "The status quo isn't working. We need to accelerate an approach to active management of fire especially given the realities of climate change."

But other environmental groups question the tactics. Newsom's plan waives some environmental regulations. Kathryn Phillips is with Sierra Club California.

[PHILLIPS] "We have real concerns about any of the suspension of the normal regulations. That's a problem that could have negative consequences for the long term."

But one thing the groups agree on: urgent action is needed before this year's fire season begins.

In Sacramento, I’m Ezra David Romero.

Ezra David Romero is an award-winning radio reporter and producer. His stories have run on Morning Edition, Morning Edition Saturday, Morning Edition Sunday, All Things Considered, Here & Now, The Salt, Latino USA, KQED, KALW, Harvest Public Radio, etc.
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