Gov. Brown Signs Bill to Boost California’s Ability to Prevent and Recover from Wildfires

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In addition, the governor noted the Senate Bill 901 is “complex and requires investment—but it’s absolutely necessary.”

On the other hand, state Senator Bill Dodd, co-chairman of the Legislature’s Wildfire Preparedness and Response Conference Committee, said, “This new law is the most comprehensive wildfire prevention and safety package the state has passed in decades.”  Dodd is the author of Senate Bill 901.

“It will help prevent further loss of life and property while ensuring ratepayers aren’t left holding the bag. By enacting this law, we’ve laid a solid base to build on as California continues adapting to the ‘new normal’ caused by climate change,” he added.

Some of the important provisions of Senate Bill 901 include:

  • Requiring utilities to implement comprehensive fire prevention plans, including improvements to utility infrastructure.
  • Expediting small landowner incentives and projects to reduce excess fuel and remove dead and dying trees and chaparral.
  • Facilitating access to property to carry out projects to improve overall forest health and resistance to wildfires.
  • Adding a rigorous standard for the California Public Utilities Commission to oversee the allocation of utility wildfire costs and expenses, including consideration of climate change impacts.
  • Authorizing a financing mechanism so utilities can spread out wildfire costs to minimize impacts to ratepayers.
  • Adding worker protections and prohibiting utilities from charging their customers for executive compensation.