Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today issued an emergency order for Lake and Trinity counties to help residents and businesses recover from the damaging effects of wildfires. Already this year, a series of wildfires in those counties has burned tens of thousands of acres, destroyed dozens homes and damaged critical infrastructure.
This executive order will expedite the removal of hazardous debris from the impacted areas and will waive fees to replace documents such as driver’s licenses and birth certificates for those affected by the fires. Today’s executive order follows the State of Emergency declaration issued in late July for wildfires across California during one of the hottest and driest summers on record.
Full text of the Executive Order is below (PDF version here):
EXECUTIVE ORDER B-33-15
on July 31, 2015, I proclaimed a State of Emergency to exist in California due to wildfires burning throughout the state, including those that were burning in Lake and Trinity counties; and
WHEREAS wildfires have burned thousands of acres of land, destroyed structures, including homes, damaged critical infrastructure, and forced the closure of major highways and local roads; and
WHEREAS the Federal Emergency Management Agency granted a Federal Fire Management Assistance Grant for the Rocky Fire burning in Lake County; and
WHEREAS the wildfires have created a substantial amount of ash, burnt vegetation, and debris in Lake and Trinity counties;
WHEREAS this debris is threatening public health and safety, and must be removed and disposed of quickly and properly to ensure that the areas can be reoccupied safely; and
WHEREAS under the provisions of section 8571 of the Government Code, I find that strict compliance with the various statutes and regulations specified in this order would prevent, hinder, or delay the mitigation of the effects of the wildfires.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, EDMUND G. BROWN JR., Governor of the State of California, in accordance with the authority vested in me by the Constitution and statutes of the State of California, in particular, sections 8625 and 8571 of the California Government Code, do hereby issue this Executive Order, effective immediately.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED THAT:
- State statutes, rules, regulations and requirements are hereby suspended to the extent they apply to the following activities: (a) removal, storage, transportation, and disposal of hazardous and non-hazardous solid waste and debris resulting from the wildfires that have burned and continue to burn in areas that are subject to the jurisdiction of agencies within the California Environmental Protection Agency and the California Natural Resources Agency; and (b) necessary restoration and rehabilitation of timberland, streams, rivers, and other waterways. Such statutes, rules, regulations and requirements are hereby suspended only to the extent necessary for expediting the removal and cleanup of debris from the fires, and for implementing any restoration plan. Individuals who desire to conduct activities under this suspension of statutes, rules, regulations, and requirements shall first request that the appropriate Agency Secretary, or his delegate, make a determination that the proposed activities are eligible to be conducted under this suspension. The Secretary for the California Environmental Protection Agency and the Secretary for the California Natural Resources Agency shall use sound discretion in applying this Executive Order to ensure that the suspension serves the purpose of accelerating cleanup and recovery, while at the same time protecting public health and the environment. This order shall apply to, but is not necessarily limited to: solid waste facility permits; waste discharge requirements for storage and disposal; emergency timber harvesting; emergency construction activities; and waste discharge requirements and/or Water Quality Certification for discharges of fill material or pollutants. To the extent it is within their administrative authority, the boards, departments and offices within the California Environmental Protection Agency and the California Natural Resources Agency shall expedite the granting of other authorizations, waivers or permits necessary for the removal, storage, transportation, and disposal of hazardous and non-hazardous debris resulting from the fires, and for other actions necessary for the protection of public health and the environment.
- As necessary to assist local governments and for the protection of public health and the environment, state agencies shall enter into contracts to arrange for the procurement of materials, goods, and services necessary to quickly remove dangerous debris, repair damaged resources, and restore and protect the impacted watershed. Applicable provisions of the Government Code and the Public Contract Code, including but not limited to travel, advertising, and competitive bidding requirements, are suspended to the extent necessary to address the effects of the fires.
- The Office of Emergency Services shall provide local government assistance to Lake and Trinity counties, 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.
- Health and Safety Code sections 103525.5 and 103625, and Penal Code section 14251, requiring the imposition of fees, are hereby suspended with regard to any request for copies of certificates of birth, death, marriage, and dissolution of marriage records, by any individual who lost such records as a result of the wildfires. Such copies shall be provided without charge.
- Vehicle Code sections 9265(a), 9867, 14901, 14902 and 15255.2, requiring the imposition of fees, are suspended with regard to any request for replacement of a driver’s license, identification card, vehicle registration certificate, or certificate of title, by any individual who lost such records as a result of the wildfires. Such records shall be replaced without charge.
- The provisions of Vehicle Code sections 4602 and 5902, requiring the timely registration or transfer of title, are suspended with regard to any registration or transfer of title by any resident of Lake and Trinity counties who are unable to comply with those requirements as a result of the wildfires. The time covered by this suspension shall not be included in calculating any late penalty pursuant to Vehicle Code section 9554.
- The provisions of Unemployment Insurance Code section 1253 imposing a one-week waiting period for unemployment insurance applicants are suspended as to all applicants who are unemployed as a direct result of the wildfires, who apply for unemployment insurance benefits during the time period beginning August 27, 2015 and ending on the close of business on February 27, 2015, and who are otherwise eligible for unemployment insurance benefits in California.
This Executive Order 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 order be filed in the Office of the Secretary of State and that widespread publicity and notice be given of this proclamation.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Great Seal of the State of California to be affixed this 27th day of August 2015.
EDMUND G. BROWN JR.
Governor of California
Secretary of State