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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 Amy Lupica, ODP Staff Writer A condo collapse in Miami is prompting new conversations about the threats rising sea levels and flooding present to the nation’s infrastructure. Experts say that it’s too early to determine whether or not climate change contributed to the partial collapse of the Champlain Towers. But they also warn that as sea levels rise […]
by Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer Louisiana loses almost a football field of land each day, caused by a combination of climate change-fueled sea level rise, reduced sediment flow from the Mississippi River, and the land gradually sinking. One area that’s not slipping underwater: Avery Island, the birthplace of Tabasco hot sauce that’s still the […]
by Amy Lupica, ODP Staff Writer Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and part of the state Cabinet have approved a highway extension spanning a portion of the Everglades. The move rejects a 2020 recommended order from Administrative Law Judge Suzanne Van Wyk, claiming that the project was incompatible with continued efforts to establish protections in the region. Legal challenges are […]
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