After landing in Fresno around 2:30 p.m., the president will hold what the White House calls “a roundtable with community leaders” at the San Luis Water Facility in Firebaugh. He’ll then tour a farm in Los Banos and deliver remarks.
During his trip, he’ll announce $173 million in California drought aid – $100 million for livestock, $60 million for food banks and the rest for conservation, watershed protection and rural communities.
“The president has been very clear that he doesn’t want any delay. He wants folks to move as quickly as possible. And the announcement today in terms of the disaster assistance is a reflection of that.” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who previewed the announcement in a call with reporters Thursday.
Mr. Obama will also link droughts in California and elsewhere to global warming. “We really understand a number of the reasons that global climate change is increasing the intensity and the frequency and the length of droughts in drought-prone regions,” said Dr. John Holdren, who leads the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy
Accompanying the president today: California Governor Jerry Brown and U.S. Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein.
“I think you want him to see just the devastation of the drought and how serious it is and how we need the federal government to invest in water projects,” said Brown as he toured the World Ag Expo in Tulare this week.
The president will only spend three hours in the Central Valley, and his meetings are closed to the public. Your best chance to see him is at the airport, looking out at Air Force One from afar.
A new report says more people in California are at risk from wildfire and fires are starting earlier and are three times larger than in the 1970s.
A new study finds California’s Central Valley has three times more water beneath it than previously estimated.
UPDATE June 26: Fire managers says the Erskine Fire near Lake Isabella in Kern County has grown to 43,460 acres and is 40 percent contained. Two people have died, and more than 250 structures have been destroyed and an additional 75 damaged.
Four consecutive years of drought, millions of dead trees and summer heat, are all factors as thousands of firefighters work to control wildfires in California.
Not much change is expected in drought conditions in California during the summer "dry season" but wildfire danger is increasing, with 66 million dead trees in the Sierra Nevada adding potential fuel.