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PG&E truck surveys damage from fallen tree. Photo: Justin Sullivan via Getty Images

PG&E still plans to move forward with its Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection filing, a source close to the company tells Axios.

Driving the news: California investigators ruled Thursday that PG&E was not responsible for the 2017 Tubbs fire near Santa Rosa that destroyed thousands of acres and killed more than 20 people.

  • The company's stock jumped 70% after the announcement.

The backdrop: PG&E is on the hook for $30 billion dollars in liability costs for fires in the past two years. Per a company filing, at least $10 billion is for the 2017 fires, but it’s unclear how much of that amount is for the Tubbs fire specifically. PG&E's equipment was linked to over a dozen fires in 2017.

  • PG&E still faces “significant potential liabilities and a deteriorating financial situation, which was further impaired by the recent credit agency downgrades to below investment grade," a company spokesman tells Axios.

California has not concluded its investigation into whether PG&E’s power lines sparked the 2018 Camp Fire, which eclipsed the Tubbs Fire as the worst in the state’s history.

Yes, but: BlueMountain Capital Management, the hedge fund set to launch a full-on proxy battle with PG&E, is urging the company not to file for Chapter 11.

  • “The news from Cal Fire ... is another example of why the company shouldn't be rushing to file for bankruptcy, which would be totally unnecessary and bad for all stakeholders,” said a spokesman for BlueMountain, which owns about a 1% equity stake in PG&E.
  • The hedge fund has sent a series of letters to the company (including one calling on PG&E to replace its entire board) arguing against bankruptcy.

Bottom line: The most likely reason PG&E would halt its bankruptcy filing is any indication that California legislators would be willing to step in and help.

  • California governor Gavin Newsom, per the Fresno Bee: PG&E's bankruptcy remains “an open-ended question, and that’s a question for them.”

Go deeper

Dave Lawler, author of World
43 mins ago - World

Biden's blinking red lights: Taiwan, Ukraine and Iran

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

Russia is menacing Ukraine’s borders, China is sending increasingly ominous signals over Taiwan and Iran is accelerating its uranium enrichment to unprecedented levels.

The big picture: Ukraine, Taiwan and Iran’s nuclear program always loomed large on the menu of potential crises President Biden could face. But over the last several days, the lights have been blinking red on all three fronts all at once.

Updated 7 hours ago - World

Skripal poisoning suspects linked to Czech blast, as country expels 18 Russians

Combined images released by British police in 2018 of Alexander Petrov (L) and Ruslan Boshirov, who are suspected of carrying out an attack in the in the southern English city of Salisbury using Novichok, a military-grade nerve agent, and also the2014 Czech depot explosion. Photo: Metropolitan Police via Getty Images

Czech police on Saturday connected two Russian men suspected of carrying out a poisoning attack in Salisbury, England, with a deadly ammunition depot explosion southeast of the capital, Prague, per Reuters.

Driving the news: Czech officials announced Saturday they're expelling 18 Russian diplomats they accuse of being involved in the blast in Vrbětice, AP notes. Czech police said later they're searching for two men carrying several passports — including two with the names Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov.

Indianapolis mass shooting suspect legally bought 2 guns, police say

Marion County Forensic Services vehicles are parked at the site of a mass shooting at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis, Indiana, on Friday. Photo: Jeff Dean/AFP via Getty Images

The suspected gunman in this week's mass shooting at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis legally purchased two "assault rifles" believed to have been used in the attack, police said late Saturday.

Of note: The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department's statement that Brandon Scott Hole, 19, bought the rifles last July and September comes a day after the FBI told news outlets that a "shotgun was seized" from the suspect in March 2020 after his mother raised concerns about his mental health.

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