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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

Go deeper

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.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Inhofe loudly sets Trump straight on defense bill

Sen. Jim Inhofe speaks with reporters in the Capitol last month. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Senator Jim Inhofe told President Trump today he'll likely fail to get two big wishes in pending defense spending legislation, bellowing into his cellphone: "This is the only chance to get our bill passed," a source who overheard part of their conversation tells Axios.

Why it matters: Republicans are ready to test whether Trump's threats of vetoing the bill, which has passed every year for more than half a century, are empty.

Conspiracy theories blow back on Trump's White House

Sidney Powell. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

President Trump has rarely met a conspiracy theory he doesn't like, but he and other Republicans now worry the wild tales told by lawyers Sidney Powell and Lin Wood may cost them in Georgia's Senate special elections.

Why it matters: The two are telling Georgians not to vote for Republicans David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler because of a bizarre, baseless and potentially self-defeating theory: It's not worth voting because the Chinese Communist Party has rigged the voting machines.