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Why This Matters: California and the company agreed to financial terms last Friday under which PG&E agreed to overhaul their board of directors, and now the legal settlement is done as well. The company may finally be able to put this devastating failure behind it. And with $13 billion-plus in financial remuneration, hopefully the victims can rebuild as well. But the coronavirus has left many communities, including those in Northern California, especially vulnerable because firefighters have begun to test positive for the coronavirus, according to The New York Times.And as we head into fire season, much of the West remains in a drought — for example, California has received roughly half the amount of normal levels of precipitation for this time of year. Yikes.
Coronavirus and Fire Risk Are A Bad Combo
Ten percent of San Jose, California’s firefighters, some of whom also help battle the state’s wildfires, are now either infected with the coronavirus or in quarantine, for example. But as The Times reported over the weekend, they are not alone — firefighters across the country, in states including Georgia, Indiana, and Washington, are also under quarantine for coronavirus. Firefighters are battling the virus as first responders, they live in tight quarters themselves, and once they are under quarantine, they are not available for emergency calls, even if they are not actually sick.
PG&E Was To Blame, Must Pay
Cal Fire said in a news release in May of last year that “electrical lines owned and operated by PG&E started the fire” and the “tinder dry vegetation and Red Flag conditions consisting of strong winds, low humidity and warm temperatures promoted this fire and caused extreme rates of spread.” As a result, the company (not individual officers) was sentenced to a maximum fine of “no more than $3,486,950,” and it must reimburse the Butte County District Attorney’s Office $500,000 for the costs of its investigation into the blaze. In addition, PG&E must create a trust fund of $13.5 Billion to compensate the victims of the Camp Fire and other wildfires related to its equipment failures.
by Natasha Lasky and Miro Korenha A wave of deadly forest fires has erupted in Colorado, despite the fact winter storms have begun hitting the state. Warming temperatures across the West Coast have lengthened fire season into November, with disastrous consequences. Three mega-fires have erupted near Denver — the largest (Cameron Peak Fire) and second-largest […]
by Natasha Lasky, ODP Contributing Writer A study published yesterday in the journal Nature suggests that revitalizing ecosystems in a global, holistic way could be an immensely effective way to heal the Earth’s climate. In particular, forests, wetlands, and grasslands would benefit most from restoration — protecting just 30% of these priority areas could save […]
Why This Matters: As President Trump bleeds money from the military to build the border wall (which fortunately a federal court just put on hold), climate change — a real emergency for the military — goes unaddressed.
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