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Photo: Justin Sullivan / Staff/Getty Images

Pacific Gas & Electric and attorneys for the victims of 2017 and 2018 California wildfires that killed dozens of people and ravaged homes and businesses, agreed on Friday to a $13.5 billion settlement, the New York Times reports.

The impact per the Times: "The agreement could help tens of thousands of residents rebuild while helping to resolve the utility’s bankruptcy."

The state of play: Some of the funds will be directed to help pay claims of federal and state agencies, as well as victims' attorneys.

  • Per the Times, "a settlement would significantly increase the likelihood that PG&E will emerge from bankruptcy before a crucial deadline in June," so the company can draw from a wildfire fund that the state established earlier this year.

Background: The utility filed for bankruptcy in January, facing an estimated $30 billion in claims.

  • In June, PG&E agreed to a $1 billion settlement with a group of public entities for its involvement in the deadly wildfires dating back to 2015.
  • The California Public Utilities Commission launched an investigation into PG&E in late October over a series of power shutoffs, which affected millions, aiming to prevent the spread of wildfires during high-wind periods and dry spells.
  • California Gov. Gavin Newsom said in November that his administration was putting together a plan to take over PG&E should it fail to resolve its ongoing bankruptcy proceedings.
  • Nearly two dozen California mayors and county leaders have pressed state regulators to help transform the embattled, bankrupt power giant into a customer-owned cooperative.

What they're saying:

"From the beginning of the Chapter 11 process, getting wildfire victims fairly compensated, especially the individuals, has been our primary goal ... With this important milestone now accomplished, we are focused on emerging from Chapter 11 as the utility of the future that our customers and communities expect and deserve."
— Bill Johnson, president and CEO, PG&E Corporation in a statement

What to watch: Friday's settlement requires approval from U.S. Bankruptcy Court. A hearing is set for Dec. 20, the Times notes.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Updated 9 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.

NRA declares bankruptcy, says it will reincorporate in Texas

Wayne LaPierre of the National Rifle Association (NRA) speaks during CPAC in 2016. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The National Rifle Association said Friday it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and will seek to reincorporate in Texas, calling New York, where it is currently registered, a "toxic political environment."

The big picture: The move comes just months after New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit to dissolve the NRA, alleging the group committed fraud by diverting roughly $64 million in charitable donations over three years to support reckless spending by its executives.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden: "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution

Joe Biden. Photo: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden promised to invoke the Defense Production Act to increase vaccine manufacturing, as he outlined a five-point plan to administer 100 million COVID-19 vaccinations in the first months of his presidency.

Why it matters: With the Center for Disease Control and Prevention warning of a more contagious variant of the coronavirus, Biden is trying to establish how he’ll approach the pandemic differently than President Trump.