For Immediate Release
July 8, 2019
Sacramento—The Senate Energy Committee takes up far reaching legislation (AB1054) backed by Governor Newsom this afternoon to create a state administered fire insurance fund. Extensive amendments to this legislation were made last week, with little fanfare. Buried in the legislation are provisions that will reduce public oversight, hinder clean energy development, and force ratepayers and taxpayers to shoulder an unfair burden of wildfire costs. A committee vote and floor vote could happen as early as today, with little time for the public to understand and substantially comment on this critical legislation. Alexandra Nagy, California Director of Food & Water Watch offered this statement in response to the move to rush through this legislation:
“California needs to take steps to reduce risks from wildfires, ensure that adequate resources are available to support those impacted, and hold companies and officials accountable for their role in these disasters. Shoving through legislation that bails out utilities on the backs of ratepayers is no solution. It reduces accountability and continues a profit-driven electricity system reliant upon on fossil fuels.
“Governor Newsom and state legislators should delay this bill for a couple of weeks to give the public time to fully evaluate and comment on it. They should also quickly take up legislation to facilitate a public takeover of utilities with a history of malfeasance and put a stop to all new fossil fuel infrastructure in the state.
“A faster buildout of electricity storage and distributed generation from wind and solar power will help reduce risks from fires and start reducing greenhouse gas emissions that are warming the planet and increasing the intensity and frequency of these unnatural disasters. Unfortunately, this legislation does nothing to require these steps and will hinder the development of local clean energy projects by requiring new layers of PUC approval for public utilities to acquire renewable assets and storage infrastructure from an investor owned utility.”
Contact: Julie Light, 510-992-4083, [email protected]
Food & Water Watch mobilizes regular people to build political power to move bold & uncompromised solutions to the most pressing food, water, and climate problems of our time.