Homepage / Currency / California begins 'historic cleanup' from fires but faces serious hurdles in rebuilding
Amazon says this Prime Day was its biggest shopping event ever Kudlow says President Trump is 'so dissatisfied' with China trade talks that he is keeping the pressure on As stocks regain their footing, an ominous warning looms Goldman Sachs downgrades Clorox to sell, says valuation is 'unsustainably high' How Satya Nadella has spurred a tripling of Microsoft's stock price in just over four years Kudlow says economic growth could top 4% for 'a quarter or two,' more tax cuts could be coming The one chart that explains Netflix’s stunning comeback US housing starts plunge 12% in June to a nine-month low Aerospace titans Boeing and Airbus top $110 billion in orders at Farnborough Target uses Prime Day to its advantage, logging its 'biggest online shopping day' so far this year Billionaire Marc Lasry sees bitcoin reaching up to $40,000 as it becomes more mainstream and easier to trade These are the 10 US airports where you're most likely to be hacked Amazon shares slightly higher as investors await Prime Day results Wreck of Russian warship found, believed to hold gold worth $130 billion A bullish ‘phenomenon’ in bond market is weeks away from fading, top credit strategist says Stocks making the biggest moves premarket: MS, GOOGL, TXN, UAL, NFLX & more Twitter shares up 50% since late April means most upside priced in, analyst says in downgrade EU fines Google $5 billion over Android antitrust abuse Mortgage applications fall 2.5% as buyers struggle to find affordable homes America may not have the tools to counter the next financial crisis, warn Bernanke, Geithner and Paulson Investors are getting spooked as the risk of a no-deal Brexit rises EU expected to fine Google $5 billion over Android antitrust abuse Ex-FBI chief James Comey urges Americans to vote for Democrats in midterm elections Elon Musk apologizes to British cave diver following baseless 'pedo guy' claim Disney, Comcast and Fox: All you need to know about one of the biggest media battles ever Xiaomi shares notch new high after Hong Kong, mainland China stock exchanges reach agreement The trade war is complicating China's efforts to fix its economy European markets set for a strong open amid earnings; Google in focus Hedge fund billionaire Einhorn places sixth in major poker tournament The biggest spender of political ads on Facebook? President Trump Asian stocks poised to gain after Fed's Powell gives upbeat comments; dollar firmer Stocks are setting up to break to new highs Not all FAANG stocks are created equal EU ruling may be too little, too late to stop Google's mobile dominance Cramer explains how Netflix's stock managed to taper its drop after disappointing on earnings Airbnb condemns New York City's 'bellhop politics,' threatens legal retaliation Amazon sellers say they were unfairly suspended right before Prime Day, and now have two bad choices Investor explains why 'duller' tech stocks can have better returns than 'high-flying' tech names Elon Musk is 'thin-skinned and short-tempered,' says tech VC Texas Instruments CEO Brian Crutcher resigns for violating code of conduct Google Cloud Platform fixes issues that took down Spotify, Snapchat and other popular sites Uber exec: We want to become the 'one stop' transportation app 'What a dumb hearing,' says Democrat as Congress grills tech companies on conservative bias Amazon shares rebound, report says Prime Day sales jumped 89 percent in first 12 hours of the event How to put your medical history on your iPhone in less than 5 minutes Investment chief: Watch these two big events in 2018 Even with Netflix slowing, the market rally is likely not over Cramer: Netflix subscriber weakness debunks the 'sky's the limit' theory on the stock Netflix is looking at watch time as a new area of growth, but the competition is stiff Why Nobel laureate Richard Thaler follows Warren Buffett's advice to avoid bitcoin Rolls-Royce is developing tiny 'cockroach' robots to crawl in and fix airplane engines After Netflix plunge, Wall Street analysts forecast just tame returns ahead for the once high-flying FANG group Roku shares rise after analyst raises streaming video company's price target due to customer growth China is investing 9 times more into Europe than into North America, report reveals Amazon says US Prime Day sales 'so far bigger than ever' as glitch is resolved Netflix is on pace for its worst day in two years US lumber producers see huge opportunity, rush to expand San Francisco to consider tax on companies to help homeless Homebuilder sentiment, still high, stalls as tariffs, labor and land drive up costs Powell backs more rate hikes as economy growing 'considerably stronger' Netflix history is filled with big stock declines – like today – followed by bigger rebounds Intel shares get downgraded by Evercore ISI due to rising competition from Nvidia, AMD Petco aims to reinvent the pet store with something you can't buy online Genetic testing is coming of age, but for consumers it's buyer beware Tech 'FAANG' was the most-crowded trade in the world heading into the Netflix implosion, survey shows Netflix weak subscriber growth may indicate a 'maturity wall' that could whack the stock even more: Analyst This chart may be predicting the bull market's demise Wall Street says Netflix's stock plunge is a ‘compelling’ buying opportunity because the streaming giant ‘never misses twice’ Tesla sinks after Musk tweets, again Boeing announces new division devoted to flying taxis Stocks making the biggest move premarket: NFLX, UNH, GS, AMZN, WMT & more Deutsche Bank downgrades Netflix, but says big subscriber miss is not 'thesis changing' IBM is experimenting with a cryptocurrency that’s pegged to the US dollar North Korea and Zimbabwe: A friendship explained Virgin Galactic spinoff Orbit to launch rockets from the UK with space deal Artificial intelligence will create more jobs than it destroys? That’s what PwC says ‘Treasonous’ Trump and ‘Putin’s poodle:' Scathing headlines follow the Trump-Putin summit China’s fintech companies offer ‘enormous’ opportunity, investment manager says Trump's performance at summit with Putin was 'unprecedented,' experts say Walmart and Microsoft link up on cloud technology as they both battle Amazon European stocks seen mixed amid earnings; Fed’s Powell to address Congress How I knew I should quit my day job and run my start-up full-time: Viral website founder China's stocks have been trounced, but the trade war may ultimately be good news for those shares Billionaire tech investor Peter Thiel bets on crypto start-up Block.one Asian shares subdued open after mixed close on Wall Street; energy stocks under pressure Amazon cloud hits snags after Amazon Prime Day downtime Netflix isn't doomed by one quarter unless people start questioning the long-term investor thesis Tech stocks set to sink on Tuesday after rough evening for ‘FANG’ Netflix plummets after missing big on subscriber growth This wristband lets humans control machines with their minds The U.S. has a rocky history convincing Russia to extradite computer criminals Amazon suffers glitches at the start of Prime Day Jeff Bezos is now the richest man in modern history 'The United States has been foolish': Read Trump and Putin's full exchange Goldman Sachs recommends these 5 highly profitable companies — including Nvidia — to combat rising inflation Goldman Sachs releases 'tactical' stock picks for this earnings season Three red flags for Netflix ahead of its earnings report The bond market may be raising recession fears, but don't expect one anytime soon Cramer: Banks are 'making fortunes' but are still as hated as they were during the financial crisis Putin told Trump at summit: Russia never meddled in US election


California begins 'historic cleanup' from fires but faces serious hurdles in rebuilding

As California begins cleaning up from this month’s deadly wildfires, concerns are rising that the rebuilding could take years and will be hampered by shortages of contractors and labor.

The governor has ordered the suspension of tough zoning, planning and other requirements to help the fire ravaged communities in Northern California bounce back faster. California, which is known for having some of the nation’s strictest environmental and building regulations, also is encouraging local agencies to streamline paperwork to make the rebuilding go smoother.

Regardless, some contractors in the affected region say a shortage of skilled labor that existed before the disaster could worsen, and they worry construction material costs will jump and shortages may create additional hurdles. Some firms are swamped with requests by homeowners, including people seeking original plans for their homes and asking for help rebuilding.

“Our phone is ringing off the hook,” said longtime contractor David Leff, owner of Leff Construction Design/Build in Sebastopol, a Sonoma County town about 50 miles north of San Francisco. “We’re getting calls from people who we built homes for as long as 30 years ago.”

Leff added, “There are more burned homes than there are contractors in the county. Some builders are going to be gearing up as much as possible. The problem is we were all so busy before the fire, and there was a fairly significant labor shortage before the wildfires, that it’s going to be even more difficult now.”

Materials costs also are likely to jump due to the surge in demand for rebuilding homes and businesses. Random Lengths, the lumber trade magazine, recently reported the prices of structural wood panels soared this year following Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

“If the law of supply and demand holds true, prices are going to go up and we’re going to see shortages of materials,” said Leff. “It’s happening at a time when lumber prices were already starting to go up, so that won’t help.”

Insured losses for property and casualty companies in the conflagration could be more than $4.6 billion, according to Moody’s Investors Service.

Sonoma was the hardest hit county in this month’s wildfires with some 6,800 homes lost. Another 569 homes in Napa County were destroyed. The two wine country counties each lost at least 5 percent of their housing stock, according to estimates.

Santa Rosa, Sonoma County’s largest city, lost entire neighborhoods, including the suburb of Coffey Park and mobile home parks. The fires also left a path of destruction in Fountaingrove, a neighborhood known for its expensive homes.

Overall, the Northern California wildfires burned more than 245,000 acres, destroyed an estimated 8,700 structures and killed at least 42 people, according to Cal Fire. As of Wednesday, at least 16 people were still listed as missing in Santa Rosa.

“Home and business owners will likely take several years to rebuild following the recent wildfires in California,” S&P Global Ratings public finance analysts said in a report Wednesday. It also said property tax relief provided to those impacted by the disaster “may lead to near-term stress on local governments.”

Experts say California has allowed homes to be built near wildfire-prone areas, raising the danger of more deadly disasters.

“A lot of new homes are being constructed in places that are at risk to wildfire,” said Kelly Pohl, a geographer at Headwaters Economics, a Montana-based independent research group. “That’s happened in Northern California and could happen in a lot of places.”

Pohl said building materials can be used to make new construction “ignition resistant and resistant to embers.”

Newer construction may include use of noncombustible products, including fiber-cement panels or siding as well as fire-retardant-treated woods.

Either way, builders say they will be looking for groups of houses that are close together or within a few blocks of each other in order to benefit from economies of scale and do production-type building. Specifically, builders could utilize the same crews, subcontractors and even management resources.

Experts also see an opportunity to ease the process of local permitting. They see the need to accelerate permit processing, noting that the increase in construction activity could overwhelm some communities and result in delays.

However, a state official said California can call on resources from out of state if needed to help the affected communities during rebuilding if there’s a shortage of inspectors.

In Sonoma County, there is pressure to ease permitting rules at county and city levels as well as to streamline the inspection process.

For Napa County, discussions also have been held about emergency measures to cut red tape. One proposal drawing interest in Napa is to allow people with destroyed houses permission to temporarily live in mobile homes or RVs on their properties.

Napa also could see economic impacts due to its reliance on wine-related tourism. Several dozen wineries in the region were damaged or destroyed. In Napa Valley alone, visitors generated nearly $2 billion in spending in 2016, according to research conducted by San Francisco-based Destination Analysts.

Be that as it may, the first priority is a government-sponsored cleanup effort of hazardous waste and ash that involves the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers. The state and federal government declared a public health emergency due to the wildfires, making available extra resources to help in the recovery efforts.

“Unlike a fire that occurs when you burn the wood in your home fireplace, the ash from burned homes contains many other items,” said Dr. Karen Milman, Sonoma County’s health officer. “It contains metals, chemicals and potentially asbestos.”

Even as the wildfires near full containment, EPA crews in protective suits went into the field this week looking for hazardous household waste to remove from burned neighborhoods in Sonoma County.

Similarly, collection crews in Napa County searched for leftover household waste from burned home sites. The Corps of Engineers is mobilizing teams that will follow by removing toxic materials in the burned areas.

“This is a monumental undertaking that is in front of us,” said Eric Lamoureux, a regional administrator with the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services. “It’s a historic cleanup that has to occur not only here in Sonoma County but across Northern California.”

Lamoureux told reporters this week the goal is to have the cleanup completed by early 2018, and he envisions springtime for the rebuilding to start, perhaps even sooner.

If the cleanup isn’t finished by January, winter rains could slow efforts at burn sites and result in toxic particles running off into streams, reservoirs and becoming harmful to humans and wildlife. Water supplies in Napa County include reservoirs where the wildfires burned, and there’s also a worry well water could end up being tainted, too.

The cause of the wildfires remain under investigation, according to Cal Fire.

Source: cnbc economy
California begins 'historic cleanup' from fires but faces serious hurdles in rebuilding

Comments are closed.