LaMalfa Reacts to Planned Power Outages in Northern California

Oct 9, 2019
Press Release
(Chico, CA) Congressman Doug LaMalfa (R-Richvale) issued the following statement after speaking to the CEO of Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) Monday to urge them to speed up hardening power generation and transmission assets to prevent future power outages and eliminate needless fire risk.
LaMalfa said: “It seems as if California, which fancies itself as one of the top world economies, is becoming a third world country. Expecting the power to stay on when the wind blows isn’t that giant a leap for mankind, yet here we are 50 years after the first moon landing having great inconvenience and personal or economic losses for many of our residents. With only a few rare exceptions, there haven’t been such huge problems until the last few years. Decades of frivolous lawsuits, foot-dragging bureaucracies, and a virtual ‘no-touch’ forest policy have coupled with onerous regulations on utilities on where, when, how, and what kind of electricity to generate. It has all come home to roost. We are all now paying the price for years of mandates and lawsuits that prevent sensible policy in regard to electricity generation and delivery, as well as hindering forest practices that help stay clear of the grid and provide fire breaks and buffers to communities when fires do occur in our forests. I’ve been preaching it my entire time in office.
“We passed good baseline legislation through a reluctant California Legislature because I fought for it. Through my efforts in Congress, we have changed laws to speed up clearing dangerous trees near power lines that could cause fires. Now, we need to enable the U.S. Forest Service and utilities to do the work in a legal and timely manner so we can have safe power lines and provide reliable power to all of our homes.
“When I spoke with the new CEO of PG&E on Monday, I impressed upon him what they already know – the need for PG&E to improve their transmission lines so that they can deliver power reliably to their customers. I am receiving dozens of calls from frustrated or angry constituents who are perplexed by this situation happening in 2019. It was clear from that conversation these shutoffs are about preventing additional fires and the limitless liability that California law has from fires that could be caused. 
“New laws and funding in Congress are providing the latitude and empowerment to do the common-sense clearing along power lines without the past major delays for permits. This really shouldn’t need an Act of Congress to fix. I will continue to work for solutions as these long power outages are preventable and our utilities should be – and need to be – empowered to do more to prevent potential fires.”
Congressman Doug LaMalfa is a lifelong farmer representing California’s First Congressional District, including Butte, Glenn, Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou and Tehama Counties.