SACRAMENTO – Moving to help communities recover from the South Napa Earthquake, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today requested a Presidential Major Disaster Declaration for the state and issued an Executive Order to help cut red tape and provide additional financial assistance.
“I request that you declare a major disaster for the State of California as a result of the South Napa Earthquake that affected Napa, Solano, and Sonoma Counties,” Governor Brown wrote in a letter sent to the White House today. “Economic impacts of this event will be extensive. The earthquake caused significant damage throughout the region.”
A Presidential Major Disaster Declaration triggers the release of Federal funds to help communities recover and the Executive Order provides additional financial assistance to local agencies and non-profit organizations and ensures residents can replace important documents and access key services without shouldering additional costs or other burdens.
Governor Brown declared a State of Emergency shortly after the 6.0 magnitude South Napa Earthquake on August 24, 2014.
The full text of the letter and Executive Order is below.
September 2, 2014
The White House
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President:
Under the provisions of Section 401 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, 42 U.S.C. § 5121-5207 (Stafford Act), and implemented by Title 44 of the Code of Federal Regulations § 206.36, I request that you declare a major disaster for the State of California as a result of the South Napa Earthquake that affected Napa, Solano, and Sonoma Counties.
The earthquake occurred on Sunday, August 24, 2014, at 3:20 a.m. Pacific Standard Time. The earthquake struck three miles northwest of the City of American Canyon in Napa County, California and measured 6.0 on the Richter magnitude scale. The United States Geological Survey suspects that the earthquake struck along the West Napa Fault. The shaking intensity in the region was VII on the Modified Mercalli Scale. To date, the region has experienced over 120 aftershocks with magnitudes up to 3.9 on the Richter scale. Although no deaths were reported, more than 280 people sustained injuries and three people remain in critical condition.
Pursuant to Section 8625 of the California Government Code, I declared a State of Emergency for Napa, Solano, and Sonoma Counties on August 24, 2014. Later that day, Napa County, Solano County, and the cities of Napa and Vallejo activated their emergency operations centers and proclaimed local emergencies. On August 26, 2014, the City of American Canyon also proclaimed a local emergency. On August 30, 2014, Sonoma County proclaimed a local emergency as well.
My administration immediately deployed all necessary state and local government emergency mutual aid, including firefighting, law enforcement, medical, and public health emergency responders. The Governor’s Office of Emergency Services activated the State Operations Center, our coastal Regional Emergency Operations Center, and implemented the State’s Emergency Operations Plan. Today, I issued Executive Order B-24-14 authorizing financial assistance through the California Disaster Assistance Act to local agencies and certain nonprofit organizations.
Economic impacts of this event will be extensive. The earthquake caused significant damage throughout the region. While significant damage resulted from this event, including $87 million in costs that is eligible for federal reimbursement, the final cost estimates are unknown at this time. The damage to buildings, particularly in historic downtown Napa, are affecting tourism and impacting local businesses. Because many of the buildings damaged by this earthquake have historic significance, the debris is being contained in place in order to ensure it is available for the restoration of those historic facilities. Repairing and reconstructing these structures will require careful design and construction methods not typical of more modern structures. In addition, all rebuilding must adhere to the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation of Historic Structures.
Critical infrastructure has also been damaged including power lines, gas lines, and water mains. The control tower at the Napa County Airport was also damaged, which required the use of a Federal Aviation Administration temporary tower. Four emergency shelters were opened in Napa and Solano Counties, two of which remain open today and are housing 53 individuals. The American Red Cross, the Salvation Army, and Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster continue to provide support to the community, and are supplying food and drinking water to more than 2,000 individuals.
While joint federal, state, and local Preliminary Damage Assessments were conducted in Napa, Solano, and Sonoma Counties for both individual and public assistance programs, it is extremely common for earthquakes to cause hidden damage that is not immediately apparent. Limited access to certain damaged infrastructure and buildings means that our joint assessment teams were only able to see part of the damage caused by the earthquake. Once jurisdictions are able to conduct detailed structural investigations of buildings, including assessing the viability of underground water and wastewater lines, the amount of actual damages is expected to increase.
This earthquake followed a series of severe fires this spring and summer and occurred amidst a severe statewide drought, all of which have severely impacted California’s resources. In the past 12 months, 17 major fires have burned in California. One fire received a major disaster declaration, 15 fires received Fire Management Assistance Grants, and one fire received a state level disaster declaration. In addition, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection reports more than 4,200 fire starts this year, requiring several hundred million dollars in fire suppression costs to date for 2014. California is also experiencing a historic drought currently in its third year, and state government has authorized $678 million dollars in emergency funding to state agencies and departments for drought response and relief efforts.
The California Department of Insurance indicates that less than five percent of homeowners and businesses in the region have earthquake insurance. A breakdown of Individual Assistance Program demographics is presented directly below:
Average of Persons Below Poverty Level Median Household Income Percent Elderly (over 65 yrs of age) Percent Disabled Percent
National Average 14.9% $53,046 13.1% 12.2% 9.3%
State Average 15.3% $61,400 11.5% 10.2% 11%
Napa 10% $69,571 16.5% 17.3% 5%
Solano 11.9% $69,006 13% 9.4% 7%
Sonoma 11.5% $63,565 16% 10.5% 5.3%
This data has been compiled from the following sources: The 2010 Census, The American Community Survey, Rural Research and Training Institute on Disabilities in, Rural Communities, University of Montana, State and County Quickfacts, U.S. Census, U.S. Bureau Labor Statistics, and Pascenter.org.
The earthquake caused major destruction to historic and essential facilities including, roads, bridges, and utilities. The preliminary damage assessment places total earthquake costs eligible for federal reimbursement above $87 million. The majority of these costs include emergency response measures and repair of roads and bridges, public buildings, and public utilities. Napa County experienced damage that equates to a per capita impact of $598.48, while Solano County experienced a per capita impact of $11.90, both exceeding the federal $3.50 per capita threshold.
The County of Napa and the City of Napa have earthquake insurance for some of their public infrastructure and buildings, and all potential insurance proceeds have been deducted from the overall damage estimate. The County of Solano is still evaluating their insurance coverage; however, we believe it is negligible.
This incident is of such severity and magnitude that an effective response is beyond the capabilities of the state and affected local governments, and supplemental federal assistance is necessary. I request: Individual Assistance for Napa, Solano, and Sonoma Counties (including the Individuals and Households Program, Disaster Case Management, Disaster Unemployment Assistance, Crisis Counseling and Disaster Legal Services); Public Assistance for Napa and Solano Counties (Categories A-G); Hazard Mitigation statewide; and any other Stafford Act disaster assistance programs that may be appropriate for the three declared counties. I am also requesting U.S. Small Business Administration disaster loans and funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Emergency Loan Program.
I certify that for this major disaster the State and local governments will assume all applicable non-federal shared costs as required by the Stafford Act. I have designated the Director of the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, Mark Ghilarducci, as the State Coordinating Officer for this request. Mr. Ghilarducci will work with FEMA in order to continue to assess the damage from this earthquake and can provide more information or justification for this request on my behalf.
Edmund G. Brown Jr.
EXECUTIVE ORDER B-24-14
WHEREAS on August 24, 2014, I proclaimed a state of emergency to exist in Napa, Solano, and Sonoma Counties as a result of a 6.0 magnitude earthquake; and
WHEREAS the earthquake has caused harm to people and property, structural damage to public and private buildings, and the closure of major highways and roads; and
WHEREAS over 100 aftershocks have occurred and aftershocks continue to occur in the region; and
WHEREAS the earthquake has also damaged critical infrastructure, including water mains and power lines; and
WHEREAS the earthquake has caused fires, damaged or destroyed over 600 residential and commercial buildings, and forced evacuations; and
WHEREAS the earthquake has caused extensive damage to over 250 mobile-homes and has destroyed six mobile-homes; and
WHEREAS residents and business owners are unable to access their homes and operate their businesses as a result of the structural damage caused by the earthquake; and
WHEREAS the damage from the earthquake will continue to impact the business communities within the Counties of Napa, Solano, and Sonoma, and will impact jobs and cause short-term unemployment, in particular in the tourism and recreation industries; and
WHEREAS the people who lost or sustained damage to their homes, property, businesses, or places of employment may need to obtain or replace important government records in order to obtain immediate assistance from federal, state, and local governmental agencies, make claims for and collect insurance, find new employment, and for other purposes related to losses suffered in the earthquake; 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 earthquake.
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, and in particular sections 8567 and 8571 of the California Government Code, do hereby issue the following orders to become effective immediately:
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED THAT:
1. The Office of Emergency Services shall provide local government assistance under the authority of the California Disaster Assistance Act, Government Code section 8680 et seq. and Code of Regulations, Title 19, section 2900 et seq.
2. Health and Safety Code sections 103525.5 and 103625, and Penal Code section 14251, requiring the imposition of fees, are 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 earthquake. Such copies shall be provided without charge.
3. 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 earthquake. Such records shall be replaced without charge.
4. The provisions of Vehicle Code sections 4602 and 5902, requiring timely registration or transfer of title, are suspended with regard to any registration or transfer of title by any resident of Napa, Solano, or Sonoma who are unable to comply with those requirements as a result of the earthquake. The time covered by this suspension shall not be included in calculating any late penalty pursuant to Vehicle Code section 9554.
5. Health and Safety Code section 18031 and Code of Regulations Title 25, section 4044, requiring the imposition of fees, are suspended for any registered owner of a manufactured home located in a jurisdiction for which the State Department of Housing and Community Development is the enforcement agency and whose home was damaged or destroyed as a result of the earthquake. The required inspections or plan checking shall be performed without charge by the Department, or reimbursed by the Department if delegated by the Department to a local authority.
6. Health and Safety Code sections 18114 and 18116, requiring the imposition of fees, and California Code of Regulations Title 25, section 5660 subsections (b), (c), (f), and (g) relating to fees for salvage transfers, transfer penalties, and duplicate certificates of title or registration, are suspended with regard to any late renewal of registration certificate or certificate of title for a manufactured home by any registered owner who lost those documents as a result of the earthquake. Those documents shall be replaced without charge.
7. Health and Safety Code section 18503 and Code of Regulations Title 25, section 1020.1, requiring the imposition of fees, are suspended for any operator of a mobile-home park located in a jurisdiction where the State Department of Housing and Community Development is the enforcement agency and whose mobile home park was damaged or destroyed as a result of the earthquake. The required inspections or plan checking shall be performed without charge by the Department, or reimbursed by the Department if delegated by the Department to a local authority.
8. The Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control shall have the discretion to waive the 500 foot limitation and 180-day time period in section 24081 of the Business and Professions Code for any businesses that have been forced to relocate as a result of the earthquake. The Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control shall further have the discretion to waive transfer fees beyond the time limitations set forth in Business and Professions Code sections 24081 and 24082.
9. 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 earthquake, who apply for unemployment insurance benefits during the time period beginning August 24, 2014, and ending on the close of business on February 24, 2015, and who are otherwise eligible for unemployment insurance benefits in California.
I FURTHER REQUEST that the Franchise Tax Board and Board of Equalization consider using their administrative powers to provide individuals impacted by the earthquake with extensions for any filing, or with relief from penalties and assessments, as appropriate.
This 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 to this Order.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Great Seal of the State of California to be affixed this 2nd day of September 2014.
EDMUND G. BROWN JR.
Governor of California
Secretary of State