California lawmakers approve legislation for $21 billion wildfire fund

California lawmakers approve legislation for $21 billion wildfire fund
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California legislators on Thursday approved a bill creating a $21 billion fund for state utilities to pay for claims related to wildfires started by their equipment, according to Reuters.

In January, Pacific Gas & Electric Corp. filed for Chapter 11 protection as it faced wildfire-related liabilities of more than $30 billion.

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In June, California Gov. Gavin NewsomGavin Christopher NewsomThe Hill's Morning Report - Wild Wednesday: Sondland testimony, Dem debate take center stage California to stop buying from automakers that backed Trump in emissions battle California governor sets special election to replace Katie Hill MORE (D) proposed creating such a fund after S&P Global ratings said the state’s two other primary investor-owned power providers, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric, were in danger of having their ratings lowered, according to the news service.

To avoid a devaluation on or around July 12, the ratings agency called on state leaders to take “concrete actions” to reduce the utility providers’ credit risks.

Newsom praised the legislature for the bill’s passage in a statement Thursday.

“I want to thank the Legislature for taking thoughtful and decisive action to move our state toward a safer, affordable and reliable energy future, provide certainty for wildfire victims and continue California’s progress toward meeting our clean energy goals,” Newsom said.

“The rise in catastrophic wildfires fueled by climate change is a direct threat to Californians,” he added. “Strengthening our state’s wildfire prevention, preparedness and mitigation efforts will continue to be a top priority for my administration and our work with the Legislature.”