Sánchez helps pass legislation to improve wildfire response, drought resiliency

Press Release

Date: July 29, 2022
Location: Washington, DC
Issues: Environment

Congresswoman Linda T. Sánchez (D-CA) today issued the following statement after voting for the Wildfire Response and Drought Resiliency Act, legislation that will help protect communities against wildfires, enhance drought resiliency, study ways to prevent damage to power infrastructure during wildfires using innovative technology, and ensure federal agencies and local governments have the resources needed to address wildfire and drought related issues:

"Severe drought and wildfires pose a constant threat to us here in California. These catastrophes disrupt thousands of lives and cause billions of dollars in damage each year, and they are only getting worse," said Congresswoman Linda T. Sánchez. "I'm proud to help pass this critical legislation and ensure our communities have the tools they need to protect themselves against wildfires, enhance drought resiliency, and combat climate change."

Specifically, the Wildfire Response and Drought Resiliency Act will:

Establish new hiring authorities and a minimum basic pay rate (approximately $20/hour) for wildland firefighters, as well as mental health leave and hazard pay.
Authorize a study on the ability of advanced transmission technologies, including low sag advanced conductors, to harden the electric grid against energy disruptions caused by wildfires.
Authorize a 10-Year National Wildfire Response Plan for landscape-scale projects across the country.
Provides $500 million to prevent key reservoirs of the Colorado River from declining to unsafe levels. The Colorado River provides water to seven western states, including California.
Invest in innovative drought-proof water infrastructure, including water recycling and desalination projects.
Support the development of modern water management data and technology.
Protect and restore important ecosystems and wildlife populations that have been impacted by drought and climate change.
Improve wildfire-related programs at the Department of Energy, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Federal Emergency Management Agency, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and U.S. Fire Administration to help provide improved assistance and relief for communities that have been impacted by recent wildfires, strengthen our electric grid against extreme weather and natural disasters, mitigate for smoke impacts, improve FEMA's response to wildfires, and investigate major fires or those with unique characteristics.
Establish the National Disaster Safety Board and direct the President to establish a National Wildland Fire Risk Reduction Program.
Advance environmental justice for communities that have been disproportionately harmed by environmental discrimination and climate change-induced wildfire and drought.