PG&E evades prosecution for Dixie, Kincade Fires

(04/2022) Reclaim Our Power spoke out last week about the atrocious deal made between PG&E and District Attorney's in 7 fire damaged counties. Despite being the clear cause of the death and destruction of the Kincade and Dixie Fires, PG&E will not face criminal oversight or structural changes that actually serve to keep Californians safe.

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Read Reclaim Our Power's Press Release below:



Fire Survivors, Families, Community Members Decry Dropping of Charges on Criminal Utility, Demand Probation, Transparency, Oversight, and End of PG&E Reign of Terror

April 11, Sonoma County- District Attorneys from seven fire-impacted counties announced a settlement with PG&E Monday, dropping the possibility of criminal charges for the catastrophic Kincade and Dixie fires the investor-owned utility caused in 2019 and 2021.

Organizers with Reclaim Our Power Utility Justice Campaign, the largest coalition of grassroots organizations fighting to hold PG&E accountable and for a transformation of California’s energy system, called out the settlement for its failure to truly hold PG&E accountable for their crimes, and called on Governor Gavin Newsom to take action to end PG&E’s reign of terror over California.

“What would it take to actually hold PG&E accountable? How many more burned down towns, more lives upended, more burned lungs do we need to see until we get justice? For the millionaire executives at murderous PG&E, the money in this settlement is a rounding error, and is an appalling way to mistreat the families, farmworkers, forests and lives damaged by this monstrous company.”
    - Mary Kay Benson, Butte County Wildfire Survivor Advocate

The settlement reportedly will total only 55 million dollars, largely in contributions to local education and non-profit organizations, for damage that will likely total in the billions of dollars. In contrast, it was recently reported that PG&E paid their new CEO Patti Poppe 50 million dollars in pay and benefits in 2021.

We are concerned that these court officials are settling for crumbs and not forcing PG&E to take the real action needed to keep our communities safe. While this decision disappoints us, Monday’s events make it even more clear that we need Governor Newsom to get this PG&E problem under control. If PG&E cannot stop setting our state on fire, Newsom must use the procedural power to revoke PG&E’s business license so we can chart the path to the safe,  21st century energy system we all need.”
    - Mari Rose Taruc, Reclaim Our Power Utility Justice Campaign

Fire survivors presented the Sonoma District Attorney with tangible, concrete pathways to hold PG&E accountable through this process, including forcing the utility to return to criminal probation, following through on charges for causing damaging smoke, and even making the evidence of what happened to cause these fires public, to avoid future calamities. The settlement included none of these provisions.  

“The era of PG&E deciding who lives and dies, who has power and who doesn’t, who breathes or not, has to end. We need decisions about our communities to be made by our communities- including how to keep us safe and where our power comes from. It’s time for our elected officials to stand up for our common future, and force PG&E to get out of the way.”
    - Gabriela Orantes, North Bay Organizing Project

Reclaim Our Power Utility Justice Campaign is the largest coalition of organizations fighting to hold PG&E accountable and for a transformation of California's energy system. Made up of environmental justice organizations, clean energy organizations, fire survivors, labor organizations and community groups, the campaign represents over 75 groups from across the state and many thousands of Californians.