(ReliableNews.org) – Fire season is raging in California and thousands of acres of land are burning. The Dixie Fire has burned more than half a million acres and destroyed over 1,000 structures. It’s the second largest blaze in the state’s history, but so far, nobody has died. Sadly, the same cannot be said of other fires in California’s past.
In November 2018, the Camp Fire, started by a nearly 100-year-old Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) power line, killed 84 people and destroyed a whole town. Instead of punishing the company for neglecting its lines and causing a fire (again), California Governor Gavin Newsom (D) reportedly tried to protect the company.
According to an investigation by California’s ABC10 News, new documents reveal how Newsom tried to protect PG&E after he won the election in 2018. The governor allegedly helped craft a law, Assembly Bill 1054, in 2019 that created a $21 billion fund utility companies can take money from if their equipment starts a fire.
The investigation found emails that revealed the law firm O’Melvany and Myers was under contract to represent Newsom’s office in PG&E’s bankruptcy suit. Following that period, the firm helped create AB 1054 “a law designed to bail out PG&E,” the company that donated more than $200,000 to his campaign. The governor’s staffers acknowledged in emails that he was pushing for the legislation.
The probe also discovered the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) hired Newsom’s lawyers to help write portions of the law. That agency allowed PG&E to forgo paying a $200 million fine issued to punish the company for breaking regulations meant to prevent fires.
Less than a month after the regulatory agency waived the fine, PG&E’s executives, on behalf of the company, pleaded guilty to 84 counts of involuntary manslaughter for causing the Camp Fire which wiped out the town of Paradise.
Newsom’s office isn’t answering questions about the investigation.
The investigation comes as Newsom is fighting a recall in the state. Voters will head to the polls on September 14 to decide whether he should be allowed to continue to serve as governor. The ballot will contain two questions next month: Should the governor be recalled and who should take his place if he is ousted.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and President Joe Biden are both standing behind the governor. Neither has commented on the PG&E report.
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