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[REGIONAL NEWS] California Lawmakers give utilities a backstop on wildfire liability

Posted by   /  July 12, 2019  /  No Comments

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wooded area of Northern California ravaged by a 2015 wildfire that was started by a Pacific Gas & Electric power line. The utility, which has filed for bankruptcy, has estimated its wildfire liabilities at more than $30 billion
/Credit Max Whittaker for The New York Times

By Ivan Penn and Peter Eavis | The New York Times

Heading into another wildfire season, California’s political leaders have moved with unusual speed to help the state’s utilities erect a backstop against huge liability claims.

The State Legislature gave final approval on Thursday to a measure that would set up a fund to help compensate victims for losses from fires started by the utilities’ equipment.

The bill is based on a proposal last month by Gov. Gavin Newsom, and legislators rushed to pass it before a summer break. It is a response to two years of devastating wildfires that in January led Pacific Gas & Electric, California’s largest utility, to file for bankruptcy protection.

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