Trump Orders FEMA To Stop Sending Money To California After “Disgraceful” Fires

President Trump on Wednesday announced over Twitter that he has ordered the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to top sending money to California “unless they get their act together, which is unlikely.” 

“Billions of dollars are sent to the State of California for Forrest fires that, with proper Forrest Management, would never happen,” Trump tweeted just one day after California Governor Gavin Newsom was sworn in, adding “It is a disgraceful situation in lives & money!”

In November, Trump threatened to cut wildfire funding as California burned from two out-of-control blazes, tweeting “There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor. Billions of dollars are given each year, with so many lives lost, all because of gross mismanagement of the forests. Remedy now, or no more Fed payments!”

 The next day, Trump tweeted: “With proper Forest Management, we can stop the devastation constantly going on in California. Get Smart!”

Meanwhile, rumors have been swirling over a possible bankruptcy by California’s largest electric utility, Pacific Gas & Electric company (PG&E), which just had its debt downgraded to junk by S&P. 

As we reported previously, PG&E’s shares plunged as much as 25% then as much as another 17% on Tuesday, to their lowest level since 2003, as investors worried about the potential for the company to file for bankruptcy as California investigators have been looking into whether the utility’s equipment ignited the deadliest blaze in state history in 2018 as well as fires in 2017, probes that could leave the company with legal liabilities topping $30 billion.

A PG&E spokesman said in a Tuesday email that the company’s board is “actively assessing” operations, finances, management, structure and governance while maintaining a commitment to improving safety.

And as we discussed last Friday, whatever PG&E ultimate fate, it “will ultimately increase costs to California ratepayers and taxpayers, which already face a high cost of living,” S&P analyst Gabriel Petek, who rates the state of California, not PG&E, said in an email Monday. 

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