State Lawmakers Partied While California Burned

State Lawmakers Partied While California Burned

State Lawmakers Partied While California Burned

The recovery from the California Camp, Hill, and Woolsey fires will take a long time and likely billions of dollars. It’s well known that the fires were sparked by PG&E downed power lines. What wasn’t so well-known until now is that, while the fires were burning thousands of homes and killing 86 people, state lawmakers were partying it up in Maui.

A group of California lawmakers took a trip to Hawaii with utility companies last year as wildfires wreaked havoc in their state.

During the junket, representatives from utility companies discussed with the bipartisan group of lawmakers just how much responsibility they should bear for wildfires – even as Pacific Gas & Electric Co. (PG&E) could be on the hook for several billions of dollars in damages for fires it caused over the past few years.

The utility companies are pushing for a new state law that would raise electricity prices to offset costs incurred from wildfires, according to The New York Times.

That news showed up at nearly the same time PG&E announced they are going bankrupt.

PG&E Corp. PCG -15.69% plans to file for bankruptcy protection by the end of the month as it faces more than $30 billion in potential liability costs related to its role in sparking deadly California wildfires.

California’s largest utility said Monday that it intends to file for chapter 11 protection on or about Jan. 29, capping a tumultuous 12 hours for the company, which announced Sunday evening that Chief Executive Geisha Williams was stepping down amid the crisis. John Simon, the company’s general counsel, was made interim CEO until a successor is found.

Although California lawmakers and regulators have been debating steps to help rescue the company, its officials ultimately concluded that state assistance would take years—too long to avoid a bankruptcy proceeding, PG&E PCG -48.27% said in a securities filing.

“We believe a court-supervised process under chapter 11 will best enable PG&E PCG -48.27% to resolve its potential liabilities in an orderly, fair and expeditious fashion,” Mr. Simon said in a statement.

The cynical part of me wonders if this bankruptcy is conveniently timed given the number of lawsuits that have been filed against the company in the aftermath of the Camp Fire, the deadliest in California’s history.

As previously noted, various folks attempted to tie the fires to climate change. However, it’s been proven that downed power lines started the fire. Yet that hasn’t stopped the climate change idiots from saying stuff.

I doubt Eric has considered that PG&E’s mismanagement of the power grid combined with years worth of fines because of the fires their power lines started has led to the company’s bankruptcy.

Meanwhile, the lawmakers who partied in Maui had received $630,000 in campaign donations from utility companies and voted in favor of bailing out any company (including PG&E) fined for causing wildfires.

But supposedly, according to the chair of the Independent Voter Project (sponsor of the conference), said there wasn’t any lobbying going on. Uh huh…pull the other one Sparky.

As noted above, the utility companies in attendance at the Maui party have been pushing for an increase in electricity prices. Why? So any costs incurred by THEIR mismanagement that causes forest fires can be offset. In other words, even though PG&E is at fault, they want California taxpayers to foot the bill for their mistakes.

Only positive note about the Hawaiian party is that no one from PG&E attended. Then again, they were getting ready to declare bankruptcy so probably couldn’t afford the $8,000 per person trip.

As we’ve seen with the Democrats in Puerto Rico, Rome partying while California burns is such excellent optics isn’t it?

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Feature Photo Credit: Pixabay, modified and cropped

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  • Did the El Diablo nuclear plant set off the fires? No. Did any of the natural gas plants set off the fires? No. Did ANY “ungreen” power plants set off the fires? No. (To be fair, NO power plant, “green” or not, set off a single one of the fires.)

    Electrical lines set off the fires. Of which there will be many, many more in a “fossil-free” California, to carry the power from where it is generated in remote wind and solar plants (which are about to be hit by a blizzard, by the way, one with winds up to 110 MPH). Not to mention the additional lines coming from the slightly less insane States to the east to supply the 70% or so of the electricity that CANNOT be generated by wind and solar.

  • George V says:

    How’s ‘bought this? A new tax in California to pay for the rebuilding after wildfires can be sourced by a tax on personal incomes about $10 million. Should bring in a lot of money and all those San Francisco & Silicon Valley types should be in favor of it, right? Oooh! Even better, an additional tax on personal wealth above $10 million also – take maybe half percent per year. Should do it, I think. Those techno-rulers like the Google guys and Zuck should be right on board.

    This is so sad because 50-60 years ago, California was a great place to live.

  • GWB says:

    California needs a just transition to a fossil-free economy.
    Well, I guess Gavin Newsom is a start, huh? You’re going to have to dump Pelosi and
    Feinstein, too, though.

    I think we should help California out. We should eliminate all power transmission lines running into CA.

  • Scott says:

    Build the damn wall AROUND california, so all the idiots that have been voting in the dims for decades can’t get out and pollute other states when they do raise taxes to 70% to cover all this shit..

  • Jim says:

    In February 2009 extreme bush fires driven by strong and hot North winds with temperatures over 45C/113F swept through part of the state of Victoria where I live killing 173 people. While the fires raged the ‘progressive’ state Police Commissioner, who should have been directly involved in the emergency supervising and supporting her Police in the field, went off and had her hair cut and styled. Needless to say her credibility sank to zero. Modern bureaucrats do not seem to understand or even know the words ”accountable” and ”leadership” as they ascend the various career ladders trying to avoid any controversy by fence-sitting or blame-shifting.

  • Theo Moore says:

    Rules set in place by the “green” crowd made it next to impossible for PG&E to properly cut the new growth where the lines ran. Make it impossible to do the job, and when they don’t do it sue them into submission. Yeah, that’ll get a lot of power moving thru your state.

    I did like George V’s suggestion, a wealth tax instead of an income tax.

    When they say income tax that is a secret code to let the rich people know their wealth is safe. Tax wealth instead of income and you might see some people getting nervous.

  • Sean says:

    California has some of the strictest environmental protection laws in the country. They severely limit the ability of electric utilities to clear brush and trees away from power lines. In most other areas of the country, trees are cleared 50 feet away from high voltage transmission lines, but not in California. The state forces an insane situation where transmission lines are operating at or near capacity, increasing the heat load from the current, while preventing the removal of fuel sources from the vicinity of the power lines. Then, when the inevitable fires start, it is the utility’s fault. And if the utility takes actions to try and shut down sections of the grid during dangerous high wind conditions, the state penalizes them. It’s malfeasance by the environmental know-nothings that led to this and many disasters, and the ratepayers and taxpayers are stuck with the bill. Neither the lobbyists nor the corporate fat cats nor the bureaucrats will suffer at all.

    • Michael says:

      You beat me to it, Sean. California’s corrupt government excels at mindlessly overregulating to expand its own power, inevitably creating the conditions for disasters, then blaming the few government agencies that actually do anything valuable for causing the disasters they themselves created, followed by a demand for more taxpayer money to clean up the mess while passing even MORE regulations.

  • Dr. Steve says:

    If you want to understand how economics works under National Socialism (Nazi), or the “new and improved” International Socialism (iNazi) beloved of our western liberal elites, look at public-private utilities such as PG&E. Although nominally capitalist enterprises, they in fact have a formal special relationship with the state. The company, for its part, allows the state to set essentially any arbitrary rules it wants – labor policy, don’t cut brush, publicly support liberal causes, spy on your customers, pretty much anything. In return, the state guarantees the utility freedom from competition and a fixed minimum profit. Even in nominally free-enterprise countries it is generally considered optimal for certain industries, notably public utilities, to be run under “crony capitalist” rules. International Socialism just vastly extends the range of such industries, to include things like all heavy industry, all information industry, etc. In this case what it means is that the taxpayers of California are going to have to pay for PG&E’s debts one way or another. PG&E can’t just go away, leaving people without gas or electricity. At worst there will be a name change, with a concomitant fleecing of shareholders. At the end of the day PG&E only has two real assets – physical equipment and workers, which must stay in service (and so can’t be shipped to, say, China), and their captive customer base. Only one of these can be sold out.

  • Mark says:

    How much of the failures are PG&E’s fault and how much the fault of the California Greenverment? How much extra cost, how many regulatory obstacles stand in the way of cutting the trees around those wires? How much money is left in those regulated rates for maintenance?

    Wealth tax is based on a faulty idea: that wealth is a crime. That idea is based on envy, and justified by the idea that the wealth could be better used elsewhere. Never do the wealth-haters ask what the money is doing. If it were held in the form of gold coin locked on a vault, their arguments might have value. But almost invariably it is invested in companies that give other people jobs and provide products and services that other people want.

  • Don says:

    While I know a few conservatives trapped in Mexifornia and feel sorry for them, the issues facing Mexifornia ARE all caused by the ignorant lefty morons who vote the elected morons into office and I have absolutely no sympathy for any of them. You reap what you sow.

  • […] interesting! THIS is what happens when regulators are in bed with those who are being regulated. In other words, this is what Democrat governance is all about. […]

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