California Agency Took Nine Years to Create Fire Map

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The California state agency charged with overseeing utility companies took nine years to develop a consistent statewide map designating areas at high risk for destructive power-line fires.

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 Washington Free Beacon.READ MORE

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