In summary

California should invest in affordable housing near existing communities, not back unsustainable new development that has already been denied by the private insurance market.

By Elizabeth Reid-Wainscoat, Los Angeles

Elizabeth Reid-Wainscoat is a campaigner for the Center for Biological Diversity.

Re “California wildfire insurance: Charging for climate change?”; June 30, 2021

Private insurers understand the risk of building new homes in fire-hazard areas and have reacted accordingly. They simply don’t insure those homes. But California currently supports these development proposals through the state-mandated FAIR Plan, which guarantees fire insurance to those denied by the private market. Such protection is a bad investment in more risky sprawl development.

Sprawl increases the chance of ignition, which in turn wrecks communities and threatens the wildlife that depend on these natural areas for survival. Sprawl developments also pull public resources away from city centers. That’s why it’s important for government officials to weigh in. The state should invest in affordable housing near existing communities, not back unsustainable new development that has already been denied by the private insurance market. Refusing to prop-up these risky developments is a good place to start.

We want to hear from you

Want to submit a guest commentary or reaction to an article we wrote? You can find our submission guidelines here. Please contact CalMatters with any commentary questions: commentary@calmatters.org .