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A Political Firestorm Is About to Hit the Capitol: Who Will Pay for Wildfire Damage?

By Laurel Rosenhall, CALmatters 

Asked this spring to identify the most important issue facing California lawmakers, the leader of the state Senate didn’t hesitate: wildfires.

Two months later — with fires blazing from the Oregon border to San Diego — legislators are poised to wade into a political firestorm sparked by last year’s historic fires and mudslides, which destroyed about 10,000 buildings and killed at least 66 people.

The biggest fight will be over liability — who pays for billions of dollars of damages from the loss of so many homes, businesses and lives? Expect another battle over how much utilities like Pacific Gas & Electric can pass liability costs onto its customers — and whether the state should step in to help. The backdrop for the drama: The scientific expectation that hotter, drier conditions brought on by climate change make it likely that California will suffer more large, intense fires.

Read the complete story at CALmatters.