Power lines during a PG&E public safety power shutoff in November 2019 in Santa Rosa, California. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Pacific Gas & Electric gained a financial shield on Saturday against roughly $30 billion in liabilities over its involvement in deadly wildfires across California, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: PG&E's plan to exit bankruptcy, which is now approved by a federal judge, qualifies the company for a wildfire insurance fund that will help cover future claims from fires caused by its equipment.

  • PG&E pled guilty to 84 counts of involuntary manslaughter for those California residents killed in the California Camp Fire.

Catch up quick: PG&E filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last January after facing the estimated billions of dollars in claims. The company agreed to a $13.5 billion settlement with California wildfire victims last December.

What's next: Judge Dennis Montali's approval of PG&E's bankruptcy exit authorizes $13.5 billion in compensation for roughly 70,000 businesses and homeowners affected by fires sparked by PG&E equipment, per the Times.

  • The company still faces "daunting challenges," per the Times, as PG&E operations "stretch across a 70,000-square-mile service area that appears increasingly vulnerable to wildfires because of climate change. And it is not clear whether the company, which has been repeatedly cited for negligence, is up to the enormous task of making its transmission system safer."

Go deeper: California to open investigation into PG&E for power shutoffs

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Ben Geman, author of Generate
Sep 15, 2020 - Science

Wildfires ignite Trump vs. Biden climate battle

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Getty Images photos: Joshua Roberts and Paul J. Richards/AFP

The devastating West Coast wildfires have, at least for now, put a hot glare on the role of climate change in the 2020 presidential election.

Catch up fast: Joe Biden called President Trump a "climate arsonist" Monday in a speech that argued his dismissal of consensus climate science is a threat to people nationwide.

Bill Clinton slams McConnell and Trump: "Their first value is power"

Former President Bill Clinton on Sunday called Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-Ky.) vow to fill Ruth Bader Ginsburg's vacant Supreme Court seat before the next presidential inauguration "superficially hypocritical."

The big picture: Clinton, who nominated Ginsburg to the court in 1993, declined to say whether he thinks Democrats should respond by adding more justices if they take back the Senate and the White House in November. Instead, he called on Republicans to "remember the example Abraham Lincoln set" by not confirming a justice in an election year.

Pelosi: Trump wants to "crush" ACA with Ginsburg replacement

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on ABC's "This Week" on Sunday that President Trump is rushing to replace the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg because he "wants to crush the Affordable Care Act."

Why it matters: Pelosi wants to steer the conversation around the potential Ginsburg replacement to health care, which polls show is a top issue for voters, especially amid the coronavirus pandemic. The Trump administration has urged the courts to strike down the law, and with it, protections for millions with pre-existing conditions.