California AG says utility could face murder charges if found liable for wildfires

California's largest public utility provider could face felony or misdemeanor charges if found responsible for sparking the recent wildfires that killed dozens of people, state Attorney General Xavier BecerraXavier BecerraOvernight Energy: Trump moves forward with rule on California drilling | House panel advances bill that resumes participation in Paris climate fund | Perry pressed on 'environmental justice' | 2020 Dem proposes climate corps Trump administration moves forward with final rule to allow new California drilling Overnight Energy: Interior chief says climate response falls on Congress | Bernhardt insists officials will complete offshore drilling plans | Judge rules EPA must enforce Obama landfill pollution rules MORE's office said in a court filing.

CNN reported Sunday that Becerra's office said in a brief in U.S. District Court that Pacific Gas & Electric Co., or PG&E, could face murder or manslaughter charges if it's determined that the company's equipment led to the wildfires that devastated the state.

Becerra's office has not determined whether PG&E is responsible for the fires and is not taking a position, but an investigation into the cause of the blazes could find the utility was negligent in maintaining or operating its power systems, according to CNN.


PG&E could face minor misdemeanor charges if it's found it did not properly clear the areas around its power lines, or it could face homicide or manslaughter charges if it's found to have played a more direct role.

"PG&E's most important responsibility is public and workforce safety," the utility said in a statement. "Our focus continues to be on assessing our infrastructure to further enhance safety and helping our customers continue to recover and rebuild."

The Camp Fire in Northern California killed more than 70 people last month, and ravaged thousands of buildings. It was the deadliest fire in the state's history.

At the same time, the Woolsey Fire destroyed buildings and killed multiple people in Southern California.