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Federal aid for state's crop freeze

March 14, 2007|From the Associated Press

WASHINGTON — President Bush is issuing a disaster declaration for California counties hurt by the January deep freeze that caused some $1.2 billion in crop losses, Sen. Barbara Boxer said Tuesday.

The declaration will allow farmers affected by the freeze that wiped out citrus and other crops to apply for disaster unemployment insurance, commodities and other help.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Boxer and congressional representatives repeatedly had written to the White House asking for the declaration. Administration officials confirmed to Boxer on Tuesday that it would be issued.

The five-night freeze was the most extensive the state had experienced since 1947, according to Boxer and Feinstein, and affected crops for 500 miles through the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys, the Central Coast and Southern California.

"This took too long as far as I am concerned, but I am very pleased we are finally moving forward," Boxer said. "There has been so much suffering in California because of this unprecedented freeze, and I am pleased that help is finally on the way."

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