tv Jared Huffman CSPAN September 16, 2020 5:04pm-5:19pm EDT
nbc news anchor and author tom brokaw. enjoy american history tv this week and every weekend on c-span3. you're watching c-span3, your unfiltered view of government, created by america's cable television companies as a public service and brought to you today by your television provider. california democratic congressman jared huffman joins us now. his second congressional district spans six counties up to the oregon border. congressman, just give us a sense of the impact of the wild fires in the second district and how your constituents are doing. >> yeah, john, thanks for having me and thanks for asking about my constituents. this is a tough summer for folks in the second district and folks all over california and much of the west. we have had the worst wild fires, certainly by acreage, that our state has ever seen.
my district has bourn a lot of that. and as we begin to get con tanment on some of the biggest fires, we're still not out of the woods. the intensity of the smoke has been so great and the inversion layer has held it in place so long that air quality in almost every part of california is very unhealthy. so, we're struggling. people are feeling the health effects. many have been evacuated and unfortunately many have lost homes. >> you say it's been a tough summer. compare it to 2018, which is known as the worst wild fire season on record, 103 confirmed dead that year, nearly 2 million acre of land burned. are we getting close to that? >> we're way beyond it in terms of the acreage burned. thankfully we have not lost as many lives as in 2017 and 2018.
remember that 2018 was bad. that was the paradise fire. but the year before, we had the terrible north bay fires that, again, hit my district. and we had entire neighborhoods just completely scorched and burned to the ground. and we lost dozens of lives. so, we've had four consecutive years of off the charts wi wildfires. and it's tough. >> this year you're doing it amid a pandemic. can you talk about the added challenges there? >> the pandemic has confounded us in a couple of important ways. the first is we were less prepared for this fire season. normally in the springtime, especially, you know, if we have the funding and we've got our agencies all working together the way they should, we would be out doing vegetative management and controlled burns to try to reduce fuel loads. you do that during the wetter months when it's safe to light
controlled burns. we were dramatically less able to do that kind of proactive management this year because of the pandemic, and that hurt us. then, when the fires came, your ability to martial resources, to stand up the massive fire camps, to mobilize and pull in firefighters from all over the place -- if you've been to one of these camps, they're like small cities. you have dining facilities and everything. people are bunched in all together. all of that's had to be reimagined in order to be safe during the pandemic. and of course the pandemic has hurt the ranks of our firefighters as well and it's hurt our prison crew. so, we've basically lost our prison crews in california, which were usually a really important resource for fire fighting. and again, that's because of the pandemic. >> congressman jerry huffman joining us this segment of "the washington journal" asking you to call in, 202-748-8000 for
democrats, republicans, 8001. independents, 8002. a special line for those impacted by the wild fires, 202-748-8003. congressman, as folks are calling in, president trump was out in your state earlier this week. one exchange he had in particular with the natural resources secretary of california got a lot of attention. i want to play that for viewers and then get your reaction. >> from our perspective, there is amazing partnership on the ground and there needs to be. as the governor said, we've had temperatures explode this summerme summer. you may have learned that we broke a world record in the death valley, 130 degrees. even in l.a., 120 plus degree. we're seeing the trend making the summers and winters warmer. i think one thing is vegetation management. we want to work with you to really recognize the changing climate and what it means to our forests and work together with that science.
that science is going to be key because if we ignore that science and sort of put our head in the sand and think it's all about vegetation management, we're not going to succeed to protect cal yans. >> okay. it'll start getting cooler. you just watch. >> i wish science agreed with you. >> well, i don't think science knows actually. >> congressman huffman, your reaction. >> i'm -- i don't know where to begin. i don't know why this president is so hostile to facts and science. but it does not serve us well when you're confronted with something like a pandemic where you really do need to listen to the people that know what they're talking about. you can't just wish it away and declare that it'll soon be gone. and it doesn't work well with climate change and these wild fire conditions that are -- this is reality. those of us who are living it don't have the luxury of just pretending it's going to get cooler and go away or that you can rake the forest.
so, we could -- a lot has been said about this president and his problem with the truth and his problem with science. but it's dangerous. i guess that's the main take away here is that lives and property and our entire way of life are at risk here. and that is the opposite of leadership. that's just dangerous, reckless stuff. >> i know there's now a select climate crisis committee on capitol hill. you served on that committee. what sort of legislation are you trying to move? has anything been passed through this congress to address climate change? >> a select committee had a 500-plus page report and it's final work product. it's up to the different committees in congress to take the recommendations and put them into legislation. some of that has already started to happen. there was quite a bit in our report on our natural systems
and how we need to make them both more resilient to things like wild fire and these extreme weather conditions, but also how if we're smart about the way we manage them, they can become part of the solution, by drawing down carbon. and if you think about these forest lands we're talking about a lot in the west right now, when you have these out of control wildfires, that's not good. that is emitting carbon, and that is worsening our climate change problem. but you're always going to have fire as part of the natural cycle. and if you can do that in ways that grow healthy, large older growth trees, those trees do a wonderful job of drawing carbon out of the air and sequestering it. so, healthy forests are part of our tool box for climate change and healthy forests are also more resilient and able to handle occasional fire without spinning out of control luke what we see through the much the
west. >> a question from michael in portland, oregon. sitting here in portland, now the most toxic air city in the world. one needs a moon suit with hazmat masks to be outside. what can east coasters do to see our present is their future? >> i think that is the right question. we really are the fast forward for the rest of the country. if anyone thinks this is just a california problem or just a california and oregon problem, it's not. this is coming to the entire west and other extreme weather impacts are coming to you no matter where you are. we're talking about, you know, crazy storms in iowa, the increased intensity and frequency of hurricanes in the gulf coast and the atlantic coast. there's really no place in the united states that will be
spared from the devastating impacts of extreme climate change. so, all of us need to pull together. we've got a narrowing win dobowf opportunity to turn this thing around. we still can take action to prevent the worst of these impacts from unfolding. we'll have some of them we'll have to mitigate because it's already set in motion. but it will get worse if we don't come together and act. so, i think that's exactly the right question. >> to austin, texas. this is gus, an independent. good morning. >> caller: good morning. thanks for having me on. i would like to ask him how come we don't invest special tanker planes at every air force base and have drones, heat seeking drones, as soon as a fire starts y'all call a train of super big tanker planes that aren't invented yet? why don't we do that that can put out the fire before it gets way out of control?
>> well, the good news there is that we actually do have a lot of the things you just described. so, there are all sorts of assets we have available including 747s that have been retrofit to be fire bombers essentially. and they have been flying over the skies of california and oregon and washington. they get stretched very thin when you have a fire season like this, which again we're talking hundreds and hundreds of fires around the west. so, we probably do need more of those types of assets. but rest assured, we have them. they do an amazing job helping us control and contain wild fires. and some of the drone technology that you've alluded to, we don't need to invent anything new. it's working right now. those drones can fly above -- even when there's no visibility and we are unable to fly other aircraft, they can fly above the
fire and use technology sensors that can see through the smoke and tell us where the fire is burning and other vital information so firefighters can make strategic plans. you're right. those are important assets. much of it does exist and is being deployed right now. >> does the federal government give the state of california money for those? >> yeah, there's certainly a lot of state funding that gets spent on those kinds of thing, cal fire in the case of california. but the national guard has a lot of these assets as well and the forest service. there is an entire fleet of these assets. like everything else in fire fighting, it's a mutual aid system. a lot of them are private. you have the 747, i mentioned for example, it's privately owned and contracted out each year to agencies and states around the country that need the help. >> twan da out in california, republican. good morning. >> caller: yes, i would like to protest a little bit.
we don't get the opposite view on climate change ever on the media or on c-span. but there are opposing views by scientists who are just as valid as these people that are speaking now. but there's a website called climatedepot, and there's a movie that's coming out that's called "climate hustle 2" from climate depot, and mark moreno, you should have on as a guest. and there's another great video called "the great global warming swindle." and that's what it is. it's a swindle. it's a marxist plot to take over the globe by using climate as a tool. >> tawanda, we got your point.
we want to give congressman huffman a chance to respond to that. >> yeah, i really wish that were true. it would be so much easier to just declare it all a hoax. and believe me, with people suffering like they are in my district, i would like nothing better than to wish this all away. so, look, i hate the way everything has been sorted into these partisan alternate realities that you, i guess, are being told that you can choose from. who wouldn't want to choose the one where you can just continue business as usual and we can continue exploiting and burning fossil fuels the way we have in the past? i mean, it's cheap, it's convenient. and you know, if there are no impacts, why wouldn't we continue to do that? the problem is it's not true and there actually isn't an opposite science view that's just as valid. there's a fake science vow that some of these websites and films that are being mentioned reflect. and it's dangerous to dignify that and to take it too
seriously government to some independent sources. don't believe me. if you think democrats can't be trusted, don't believe a democrat. go to the most knowledgeable scientists in the world. go to the most independent authorities in the world and fact check for yourself. if you do, you're going to find this isn't just two choices you can pick from on climate change. there's actually a right and a wrong. and what i'm telling you, i think you will find out, is actually the truth validated by the overwhelming majority of the world's scientists and these other notions are deeply dangerous. >> do you think people are trusting science less these days than they did in the past? >> i think some people are trusting science less because they're being encouraged to trust science less. i think facts and science are very threatening to people who would like to exploit a low information public, a
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