Trump signs St. Francis Dam disaster bill

Photo by George R. Watson

On the 91st anniversary of the second deadliest disaster in state history, President Donald Trump agreed to the formation of a national monument at the St. Francis Dam site Tuesday, when he signed the John D. Dingell Jr. Conservation, Management and Recreation Act into law.

In a news release Tuesday, the U.S. Department of the Interior Acting Secretary David Bernhardt applauded the president for signing S.47, which was formerly known as Natural Resources Management Act.

S.47 is comprised of more than 100 individual bills that were  introduced by several Senators and a number of House members, according to Congress.gov. The legislation was presented to the president on March 6.

Former Rep. Steve Knight was one of the House members who worked on the recently signed legislation declaring the St. Francis Dam site a national memorial. He previously said he was confident the bill would get passed this year, adding, “It’s something that’s deserved for the community.”

Rep. Katie Hill, D-Agua Dulce, would continue the work of Knight during the 116th session of Congress as she co-authored and introduced her first bill with Congresswoman Julia Brownley.

The United States Sentate approved a bill that includes designating the Saint Francis Dam site in San Francisquito Canyon. Cory Rubin/The Signal

The St. Francis Dam is notorious for a disastrous flood that killed more than 400 people, caused millions of dollars in damage and destroyed home, ranches and many other properties that were in the path of the floodwaters between San Francisquito Canyon and the Pacific Ocean.

The dam’s collapse is considered one of the worst civil engineering failures of the 20th century and is the second deadliest tragedy in California’s history.

In previous statement of support for the bill, Hill said from the congressional floor she was proud that the community will finally be able to amplify the stories of the tragedy, “and provide a constant reminder of how critical infrastructure is to the safety and security of our communities.”

Bernhardt said in Tuesday’s release, “This bill is extremely beneficial to the American people and I look forward to working with Congress and local communities to implement the many local conservation wins within the bill.”

Dianne Erskine-Hellrigel, executive director of the Santa Clarita Valley Community Hiking Club, previously said she is excited for the legislation and has already began forming the prospective plans for a memorial and visitor center.

The United States Sentate approved a bill that includes designating the Saint Francis Dam site in San Francisquito Canyon. Cory Rubin/The Signal

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