SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Wildfire victims and firefighters from all over California rallied at the State Capitol Wednesday in opposition to Governor Brown’s Wildfire proposal.
The proposal would lessen PG&E’s liability over damages if the utility “acted reasonably,” meaning those who lost their homes may not be allowed to seek restitution.
Many are calling the policy unconstitutional and rallied at the Capitol to share their stories and garner support from lawmakers.
The victims urged lawmakers to defend the right of victims to collect money from utilities whose equipment causes a fire. This right to collect restitution, known as inverse condemnation, has been at the heart of fire reforms.
Lobbyists have spent millions, and the utilities supported Brite Coalition launching a tv ad, hoping to plead the case on behalf of utilities to do away with inverse condemnation.
“Our climate has changed and our laws need to change too,” the ad says.
The wine country wildfires blazed through the North Bay ten months ago Wednesday, and the Thomas fire burned Ventura County almost two months after that, and Cal-Fire has blamed most of those fires on utility equipment.
So now the question remains if utilities should continue to be on the hook for fire damages, or should the pain be spread to local governments, fire victims, and their insurance companies?
The topic of inverse condemnation will be taken up Thursday at the wildfire joint committee’s second meeting. Parties involved say there is sure to be fireworks.