STATEMENT: Californians’ Safety Remains Top Priority of California Senate
SACRAMENTO – Responding to calls on Governor Gavin Newsom to convene the Legislature in an effort to address the current wildfire and utility power shut offs, Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego) issued the following statement:
“Californians are facing unprecedented, and unnerving, amounts of stress and anxiety as a result of the recent wildfires, wind events, and power shut offs. We are focused on public safety and committed to finding solutions to reduce the incidence and spread of these devastating fires, as well as examining the power shut offs and their impact on our communities, which is why we will be convening an oversight hearing in Sacramento on November 18. The safety and needs of our residents are our top priorities, and will remain so as we work on these issues during the hearing and our current legislative session that reconvenes in January.”
Pro Tem Atkins recently announced an oversight hearing will be held Nov. 18 to begin investigation of the shut offs and review options to address the serious deficiencies inherent within the current Public Safety Power Shut Offs (PSPS) process. The hearing will be convened by Senator Ben Hueso (D-San Diego), who chairs the Senate Energy, Utilities, and Communications Committee.
California committed nearly $1 billion in wildfire prevention and response during the past Legislative session, including investments in new equipment and increased staffing for CalFire, infrared cameras to detect wildfires early, and major investments in forest management. The Legislature also passed laws aimed at increasing fire safety in the state, including the creation of new wildfire safety plans to prevent utility-caused wildfires and establishing a wildfire safety division at the California Public Utility Commission, as well as directed utility companies in California to spend billions to harden their systems to reduce the incidence of fires started by power lines and transformers.
Californians are encouraged to find more information about wildfire incidents, power shut offs, and resources at response.ca.gov, a website launched by Gov. Newsom this week that combines emergency response, recovery and resilience information.
“We are not yet through fire season and the threat of more power shut offs – we are actively working on ways to keep our first responders and communities safe and secure, and that work will continue into this next year. Our strength lies in our ability to navigate this together.”
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: www.senate.ca.gov/Atkins