A federal judge is deciding if Pacific Gas & Electric violated its criminal probation. This would have been by sparking a wildfire destroying more than 100 homes and injured six firefighters in October 2019.
Federal Judge Meets with Prosecutors and Attorneys for PG&E
On Tuesday, prosecutors and attorneys for PG&E appeared at a hearing. This was before the U.S. District Judge William Alsup. It was a month after the district attorney had charged the company. Moreover, with five felony and 28 misdemeanor counts for a fire. It destroyed 374 buildings and has launched what is being called the largest evacuation in the county’s history. Close to 100,000 people were actually forced to flee in Fresno and other areas of California.
Transmission Line Started Fire
In its investigator’s findings, PG&E has accepted that its transmission line ignited the fire. It did burn through 120 square miles. Yet it denied committing any crimes. The investigators are trying to have, moreover, two-thirds of the charges thrown out. That is on the grounds its alleging violations of state air pollution laws do not constitute what is considered a crime.
Jennifer Hutchings, a federal probation officer, has alleged the 2019 fire violated the company’s probation from the 2010 explosion in its natural gas lines that blew up in a neighborhood in Fresno and other areas of California. This led to Federal Judge Alsup’s appointment to oversee the utility’s operations.
The utility which serves about 16 million people had to abide by the probation terms not to commit another federal, state or local crime.
Judge is Considering Additional Probation Conditions
Moreover, Alsup has said he will think about and decide whether he will impose additional probation conditions because of the fire, adding that “losing 100 homes is catastrophic really.” In fact, there is no other way to describe this tragedy.”
Alsup said he will consider imposing additional probation conditions because of the fire, adding that “losing 100 homes is catastrophic really. There’s no other way to describe it.”
Repeat Offender: PG&E is Constantly in Violation
Repeatedly finding the company has violated other probation conditions, the judge has each time imposed more conditions on PG&E.
Judge Alsup has set another hearing for June 2.