Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Causing Death but No Jail-Time

In a highly unusual US corporate acknowledgment of criminal wrongdoing, Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) pleaded guilty to the deaths of 84 people in a wildfire.  The California utility  admitted the 2018 Camp Fire, the state's deadliest and most destructive, was caused by its faulty equipment.

The company will be fined millions of dollars, but no-one will go to jail. But some survivors have condemned the plea deal as a slap on the wrist for PG&E, which has been linked to several dangerous blazes since 2015. They accuse state officials of long failing to hold the utility accountable because of its political clout.

Over 10,000 homes were burned down and more than 153,000 acres razed. The utility has already committed to settle claims from insurers and local government agencies for more than $25bn. That includes a $13.5bn settlement with fire victims.

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