California lawmakers approve legislation for $21 billion wildfire fund


FILE PHOTO: Firefighters keep watch on the Thomas wildfire in the hills and canyons outside Montecito, California, U.S., December 16, 2017. REUTERS/Gene Blevins/File Photo

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – California lawmakers approved legislation on Thursday to create a $21 billion fund to help utilities in the state pay for claims arising from future wildfires sparked by their equipment, tackling a top issue for the state after power provider PG&E Corp filed for bankruptcy in January expecting more than $30 billion in wildfire liabilities.

The legislation now goes to Gov. Gavin Newsom, who in June proposed California set up such a fund. State Senator Bill Dodd, a Democrat who co-authored the legislation, said he expects Newsom will approve the bill soon. “All that’s left is the governor’s signature,” Dodd told Reuters.

Reporting by Jim Christie; Editing by Susan Thomas

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