PROCLAMATION OF A STATE OF EMERGENCY
WHEREAS the State of California is experiencing record drought conditions ,
which have persisted for the last four years ; and
WHEREAS on January 17, 2014, I proclaimed a State of Emergency to exist
throughout the State of California due to severe drought conditions ; and
WHEREAS a lack of precipitation over the last four years has made trees in
many regions of California susceptible to epidemic infestations of native bark beetles,
which are constrained under normal circumstances by the defense mechanisms of
healthy trees; and
WHEREAS these drought conditions and resulting bark beetle infestations
across broad areas have caused vast tree mortality in several regions of the state , with
the United States Forest Service estimating that over 22 million trees are dead and that
tens of millions more are likely to die by the end of this year; and
WHEREAS recent scientific measurements suggest that the scale of this tree
die-off is unprecedented in modern history; and
WHEREAS this die-off is of such scale that it worsens wildfire risk across large
regions of the State , presents life safety risks from falling trees to Californians living in
impacted rural, forested communities, and worsens the threat of erosion across
WHEREAS such wildfires will release thousands of tons of greenhouse gas
emissions and other harmful air pollutants; and
WHEREAS the circumstances of the tree die-off, by reason of its magnitude, is
or is likely to be beyond the control of the services, personnel, equipment and facilities
of any single county, city and county , or city and require the combined forces of a
mutual aid region or regions to combat; and
WHEREAS under the provisions of section 8558(b) of the California Government
Code, I find that conditions of extreme peril to the safety of persons and property exist
within the State of California due to these events; and
WHEREAS under the provisions of section 8571 of the California Government
Code, I find that strict compliance with various statutes and regulations specified in this
order would prevent, hinder, or delay the mitigation of the effects of the drought.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, EDMUND G. BROWN JR., Governor of the State of
California, in accordance with the authority vested in me by the State Constitution and
statutes, including the California Emergency Services Act, and in particular, section
8625 of the California Government Code, HEREBY PROCLAIM A STATE OF
EMERGENCY to exist within the State of California.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED THAT:
1. The Department of Forestry and Fire Protection , the California Natural
Resources Agency, the California Department of Transportation, and the
California Energy Commission shall immediately identify areas of the State that
represent high hazard zones for wildfire and falling trees using best available
science and geospatial data.
2. State agencies, utilities, and local governments to the extent required by their
existing responsibilities to protect the public health and safety , shall undertake
efforts to remove dead or dying trees in these high hazard zones that threaten
power lines , roads and other evacuation corridors , critical community
infrastructure, and other existing structures. Incidental vegetation such as shrubs
that restrict access for safe and efficient removal of the dead and dying trees also
may be removed. The Department of Forestry and Fire Protection shall issue
emergency guidelines setting forth the relevant criteria , and the California
Conservation Corps shall assist government entities in implementing this
directive to the extent feasible.
3. The Department of Forestry and Fire Protection shall identify potential storage
locations for removed trees across impacted areas in partnership with federal
agencies and local jurisdictions.
4. The California Department of Transportation shall formally request immediate
assistance through the Federal Highway Administration’s Emergency Relief
Program, Title 23, United States Code section 125, in order to obtain federal
assistance for removal of dead and dying trees that are adjacent to highways .
5. The Department of General Services will identify state facilities , and the
California Department of Transportation shall identify highway and road corridors ,
where woodchips produced from dead trees can be used as mulch .
6. The Governor’s Office of Emergency Services and the Department of Forestry
and Fire Protection shall work with impacted counties to distribute portable
equipment across high hazard zones so that isolated communities can remove
and process wood waste locally where appropriate.
7. The California Air Resources Board and the California Department of Forestry
and Fire Protection shall work together and with federal land managers and the
United States Environmental Protection Agency to expand the practice of
prescribed burns , which reduce fire risk and avoid significant pollution from major
wildfires , and increase the number of allowable days on a temporary basis to
burn tree waste that has been removed in high hazard areas .
8. The California Public Utilities Commission shall utilize its authority to extend
contracts on existing forest bioenergy facilities receiving feedstock from high
9. The California Public Utilities Commission shall take expedited action to ensure
that contracts for new forest bioenergy faci lities that receive feedstock from high
hazard zones can be executed within six months , including initiation of a targeted
renewable auction mechanism and consideration of adjustments to the SioMat
Program defined pursuant to Public Utilities Code section 399.20 . No later than
six months after the SioMat program begins, the California Public Utilities
Commission shall evaluate the need for revisions to the program to facilitate
contracts for forest bioenergy facilities.
10.The California Public Utilities Commission shall prioritize facilitation of
interconnection agreements for forest bioenergy facilities in high hazard zones ,
and shall order the use of expedited mediation or other alternative dispute
resolution processes when conflicts delay development of projects.
11 .The California Energy Commission shall prioritize grant funding from the Electric
Program Investment Charge for woody biomass-to-energy technology
development and deployment, consistent with direction from the California Public
12.The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, the California Energy
Commission, and other appropriate agencies shall work with land managers to
estimate biomass feedstock availability, storage locations, and volumes that may
be available for use as bioenergy feedstock at existing and new facilities . I
13.The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection and the California
Energy Commission shall work with bioenergy facilities that accept forest
biomass from high hazards zones to identify potential funds to help offset higher
feedstock costs .
14.The California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery and the
California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection will work with affected
counties and existing wood product markets to determine the feasibility for
expanded wood product markets in California.
15.For purposes of carrying out directives 1, 2, and 5 through 8, Division 13
(commencing with section 21000) of the Public Resources Code and regulations
adopted pursuant to that Division are hereby suspended. This suspension
applies to any actions taken by state agencies, and for actions taken by local
agencies where the state agency with primary responsibility for implementing the
directive concurs that local action is required, as well as for any necessary
permits or approvals required to complete these actions .
16.ln order to ensure that equipment and services necessary for emergency
response can be procured quickly, the provisions of the Government Code and
the Public Contract Code applicable to state contracts , including, but not limited
to, advertising and competitive bidding requirements, are hereby suspended as
necessary to carry out this Proclamation. Approval by the Department of
Finance is required prior to the execution of any contract entered into pursuant to
17.For purposes of this Proclamation , Chapter 3.5 (commencing with section 11340)
of Part 1 of Division 3 of the Government Code is suspended for the
development and adoption of regulations or guidelines needed to carry out the
provisions in this Order . Any entity issuing regulations or guidelines pursuant to
this directive shall conduct a public meeting on the regulations and guidelines
prior to adopting them.
18.The Office of Emergency Services shall provide local government assistance as
appropriate under the authority of the California Disaster Assistance Act,
California Government Code section 8680 et seq. and California Code of
Regulations, title 19, section 2900 et seq.
19.State agencies shall actively monitor tree removal efforts directed by this
Proclamation to assess their effectiveness in protecting forest health and
strengthening forest resilience .
This Proclamation is not intended to, and does not, create any rights or benefits,
substantive or procedural , enforceable at law or in equity, against the State of
California, its agencies, departments, entities, officers, employees, or any other person.
I FURTHER DIRECT that as soon as hereafter possible, this proclamation be filed in the
Office of the Secretary of State and that widespread publicity and notice be given of this
IN WITNESS WHEREOF I have
hereunto set my hand and caused the
Great Seal of the State of California to
be affixed this 30th day of October
EDMUND G. BROWN JR.
Governor of California
Secretary of State
Governor Brown Declares Tree Mortality State of Emergency