STATEMENT: COUNCIL IN SUPPORT OF GOVERNOR’S ESTABLISHMENT OF A WILDFIRE PREPAREDNESS AND RESPONSE CONFERENCE COMMITTEE
The Bay Area Council applauds Governor Jerry Brown and the Legislative Leadership’s decision to convene a conference committee dedicated to Wildfire Preparedness and Response. We are pleased that the Governor and Legislature are actively following up on the commitments made in January to ensure a solution focused approach to the critical climate change and weather disaster-related issues facing California. While this response is a major step for the state, we cannot understate the need to address the issue of 2017’s wildfire season liability.
While remaining solution oriented is critical, we need to ensure that those solutions are encompassing of the complex nature surrounding this issue. With the recent addition of Assemblymember Bill Quirk’s securitization bill, AB 33, we believe that the legislature is moving in the right direction to address the broader implications associated with wildfire-related climate risk.
The proposed legislation would enable the state to assist those directly impacted by wildfire through the issuance of low-cost, long-term utility-backed bonds to ensure compensation. The bill would modernize current legislation to address the financial demands resultant from the catastrophic wildfires. Most importantly, this approach would minimize costs on the customer while holding utilities accountable for any involvement in the fires.