(National Sentinel) Fail: The longer those wildfires rage in California, the more we learn how — once again — Left-wing ideology and Democrat incompetence are largely to blame for them.
Earlier we noted that outgoing Gov. Jerry “Moonbeam” Brown vetoed a bipartisan bill in 2016 that would have dramatically reduced the risks of wildfires from power lines and other utility equipment.
Now, the Washington Free Beacon is reporting that a California state agency responsible for oversight of utility companies took nearly a decade to produce a consistent statewide map that shows areas at high risk for destructive fires caused by power lines:
Seven of those years took place during outgoing Gov. Jerry Brown’s time in office and six were during the tenure of a president of a key state agency who resigned after a series of leadership scandals.
Longtime critics of the utility companies and their role in sparking some of the state’s worst wildfires are voicing new concerns after reports that PG&E’s transmission line malfunctioned minutes before the start of the Camp Fire, the deadliest, most destructive fire in the state’s history.
Others are calling for the creation of a new independent body to oversee the utilities, complaining that the companies and their legions of lobbyists have too much sway over the existing California Public Utilities Commission, or CPUC.
“We were the only city in the state to participate in the fire-mapping process. It’s a very slow-moving and bureaucratic and byzantine process dominated by the utility companies,” Bob Whalen, a city council member from the fire-prone Southern California city of Laguna Beach, told the WFB.
Rule-making processes were, for the most part, dominated by representatives related to the utility companies.
“Any suggestion we made was typically voted down 31 to 1,” said Whalen.
“To me, what would really take the fire mitigation analysis to a higher level is if you have an independent body of experts involved,” he noted further. “The utilities are so familiar with the process and so involved in the day to day of it, they really dominate the proceedings.”
So that lays the blame at the utility companies then — right?
Not so fast.
“What [the CPUC] hasn’t done a good job at is requiring the utilities to follow good safety practices,” Chico attorney Ken Roye, a resident of fire-ravaged Butte County who has litigated eight fire-related cases, told the WFB. “They’re all in bed together. The [CPUC] hasn’t done anything to alleviate the problem, and it’s been going on for over 30 years.”
As for Brown’s role in this as head of the state, we noted that bipartisan legislation he vetoed came largely as a result of his extreme environmentalism; the Left is so ‘all about the land’ they refuse to even agree to common-sense forest management, such as clearing of underbrush and undergrowth that, when dry, serves as fuel for wildfires.
The bill would have required the CPUC to work with utilities to mitigate wildfire risks, including putting transmission lines underground if necessary.
When Brown vetoed the bill in September 2016, he claimed that state officials “have been doing just that through the existing proceeding on re-threat maps and re-safety regulations.”
Liberalism kills. Again.
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