According to a report by Time, FEMA indirectly wants to bill survivors of the Camp Fire (and other California wildfires from 2015 through 2018) over $4 billion of PG&E’s bankruptcy debt. If the utility fails to resolve its debt as part of its bankruptcy case, then FEMA is prepared to bill survivors. As mentioned just a moment ago, that sum totals nearly $4 billion. Haven’t survivors of the devastating California wildfires during 2015, 2017, and 2018 suffered enough at the hands of greedy corporations?
How Is It Even Possible to Bill Survivors?
FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) asked PG&E for reimbursement to cover costs from their response to the devastating wildfires throughout California in 2015, 2017, and 2018. Unfortunately, any money paid out would come from “the $13.5 billion the utility intends to reserve primarily to settle claims from wildfire victims” (Time).
What Does FEMA Have to Say About It?
According to the article, FEMA is “compelled to seek compensation from PG&E” (Time). The $4 billion should come directly out of PG&E’s pocket. Additionally, FEMA doesn’t plan on reducing the amount of settlement money currently available to fire victims. In fact, Bob Fenton, the regional administrator for FEMA, said:
“What we are interested in doing is holding PG&E responsible and accountable for the billions of dollars taxpayers provided to assist individuals and communities affected by the wildfires. The last thing I want to do is have to go after these individuals that have recieved claims from the bankruptcy where certain parts of that claim may duplicate funding that we’vee already given them.” – Bob Fenton of FEMA (quote from Time)
When Will We See a Decision Reached in Court?
According to the report, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Dennis Montali will likely consider the issue at a hearing scheduled for next month. However, Eric Goodman, an attorney working on behalf of fire survivors in the PG&E case, said that the case “doesn’t hold any water” (Goodman, quoted from Time). Hopefully, we’ll see a decision reached in court during the hearing scheduled for next month (February 2020). PG&E also stated that they agree with the committee of survivors and that “Fema does not have a valid legal claim” (PG&E, quoted from Time)