CSAC Bulletin Article

Progress on Fire Prevention and Utility Liability Discussion

Aug. 23, 2018

Conference Committee Co-Chair Senator Bill Dodd announced last week that changes to the existing inverse condemnation law were off the negotiating table after intense lobbying by CSAC and its coalition partners. The Committee, which was formed to tackle the issues of wildfire preparedness, response, and liability, continues its work this week with an anticipated hearing to discuss an emerging deal.

The issue of changes to inverse condemnation raised a number of significant issues, including reducing and/or delaying compensation to fire victims and counties, and was the focus of CSAC’s specific concerns. CSAC and our coalition partners worked diligently over the past several months to prevent any changes to utility liability law, while working to ensure for the financial stability of our utilities and increase fire prevention and forest management activities.

The agreement to take changes to take this issue off the table has allowed for progress on other policy areas that will help prevent future fires through better forest management practices, protection for utility ratepayers, and the ability for utilities companies to securitize costs from the 2017 fires. The committee was expected to meet today to release the outline of a deal on those issues.

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