Sat. Jan 18th, 2020

Federal government blasts PG&E's deal with fire victims

Tensions between the U.S. government and Pacific Gas & Electric are boiling over as the two sides battle over whether a taxpayer-funded agency should be allowed to stake a claim on a $13.5 billion settlement covering most of the losses from catastrophic wildfires blamed on the bankrupt utility. The showdown came into sharper focus Monday when a top official from the Federal Emergency Management Agency blasted the nation’s largest utility and fire victims’ lawyers for negotiating a deal that could put the government in the untenable position of trying to claw back money it already has paid to people who lost family members and homes in fires ignited by PG&E’s transmission lines from 2015 and 2018. Robert Fenton, a FEMA regional administrator, lashed out during a media conference call held after the San Francisco Chronicle first reported the agency planned to seek repayment of a portion of the $3.9 billion bill that it incurred in the fires from the victims if it can’t get the money from PG&E as the utility scrambles to emerge from bankruptcy protection by June 30.

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