Tuesday, November 19, 2019

WSJ: Blame Environmentalists for California Blackouts, Wildfires

The Wall Street Journal has blamed environmental regulations and mandates for California wildfires — and for the blackouts this week that are aimed at preventing them.

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E) cut power to hundreds of thousands of customers in Northern California this week as a precaution amidst hot and windy weather.

Last year, the company was blamed for the Camp Fire — the deadliest in the state’s history — after a faulty power line was blamed for starting a brush fire that spread rapidly and destroyed the town of Paradise in mere minutes.

The Journal editorial board declared Thursday (and in print on Friday) that “opposition to logging and prescribed burns in California‚Äôs forests,” as well as a litigious culture that makes it more difficult to hire tree-trimmers, have left the state with additional fuel for fires — a situation exacerbated by severe droughts that only recently ended.

In addition, the Journal argued that green energy mandates have cost PG&E money that could have been spent on safety:

Two dozen or so wildfires in the past few years have been linked to PG&E equipment, including one last fall that killed 85 people. PG&E under state law is on the hook for tens of billions of dollars in damages and has filed for bankruptcy. For years the utility skimped on safety upgrades and repairs while pumping billions into green energy and electric-car subsidies to please its overlords in Sacramento. Credit Suisse has estimated that long-term contracts with renewable developers cost the utility $2.2 billion annually more than current market power rates.

Earlier this week, the Los Angeles Times editorial board also blamed poor management of vegetation for the wildfires. However, it also blamed housing construction near forests, and the effects of climate change.

Hundreds of thousands of customers were affected by the blackouts in Northern California, though power had been restored to most customers by Friday morning, according to a report by Bay Area public radio station KQED.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

Joel B. Pollak

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