With new blazes burning across Northern California and more than a dozen of last year’s wildfires freshly blamed on Pacific Gas and Electric Co., it’s an awkward time to consider pardoning power companies that start fires.
And yet that seems to be what the governor and lawmakers are determined to do.
Gov. Jerry Brown and the Legislature’s Democratic and Republican leaders said in a statement this week that a joint legislative committee will work to “update rules and regulations for utility services in light of changing climate and the increased severity and frequency of weather events.”
Like an earlier memo from the same bunch, the announcement adopts PG&E talking points blaming recent fires on global warming while glossing over the utility’s role.
The trouble is that close examination of last year’s fires has not produced a portrait of an innocent company that did everything right and faces billions of dollars in potential damages anyway.
State fire officials have found not only that PG&E’s equipment caused all 16 of the fires they have finished investigating but also that in most of those cases, the utility might have broken the law.