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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

15 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Senate Republicans unveil $568 billion infrastructure counterproposal

Sens. John Barasso and Shelley Moore Capito. Photo: Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Senate Republicans formally rolled out the framework for their $568 billion counterproposal to President Biden's $2.5 trillion infrastructure plan on Thursday.

Why it matters: The package is far narrower than anything congressional Democrats or the White House would agree to, but it serves as a marker for what Republicans want out of a potential bipartisan deal.

House passes bill that would make D.C. the 51st state

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The House of Representatives voted 216-208 on Thursday to pass a bill that would grant statehood to Washington, D.C.

The big picture: It's the second year in a row that the Democratic-controlled House has voted to recognize D.C. as the 51st state. The bill now heads to a divided Senate, where it faces little chance of reaching the 60 votes necessary to send to President Biden's desk.

Dueling Van Gogh exhibits cause confusion across America

Photo: David Gray/AFP via Getty Images

Will the real Vincent Van Gogh please stand up? "Immersive Van Gogh" is coming to Orlando this fall. It's not the same as "Van Gogh Alive" at the Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg. And definitely not "Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience" coming to Miami.

What's happening: If you're confused, so are other people who keep thinking they're buying tickets to the same exhibit.