Senate Leader Atkins to Republican Colleagues: Backsliding on Renewable Energy Not a Panacea to Wildfires, Power Shutoffs

October 29, 2019

SACRAMENTO – California Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego) issued the following statement in response to claims from Republican legislators that backsliding on renewable energy is a solution to preventing wildfires and power shutoffs:

“People are losing their homes, their livelihoods, and their sense of security due to these devastating fires, so we need to focus on real solutions. The Republican proposal to reverse the state’s progress on clean energy won’t solve the problem and actually makes things worse. Replacing clean energy sources with more energy generated from fossil fuels exacerbates the climate change that is causing the extreme weather and wildfires we are facing, and it would mean higher bills for ratepayers by reducing power available from less expensive wind and solar sources. The Legislature has allocated billions of dollars for fire prevention and response and further has directed utilities in the state to spend billions more to harden their systems to reduce the incidence of fires started by power lines and transformers. 

“But our work is not done and fire prevention will be a continued priority for the year ahead. As critical as this issue is, the threshold for any proposal has to be “does it make a real difference?”  By denying the reality that fossil fuel generated climate change is contributing to these devastating wildfires, by opening consumers to bigger bills, and by ignoring the need to reduce the potential spread of wildfires caused by non-utility sources such as lightning, car engines, or dragging chains, the Republican proposal would make a difference, but not in the direction we need.”


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Toni G. Atkins is President pro Tempore of the California Senate. Having previously served as Speaker of the California Assembly, she began her tenure in the Senate in 2016. As Senator for District 39, she represents the cities of San Diego, Coronado, Del Mar and Solana Beach. Website of President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins: