No criminal charges to be filed against PG&E for 2017 wildfires

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SONOMA COUNTY (KRON) — Prosecutors from several Northern California counties announced today that no criminal charges will be filed against PG&E related to the 2017 wildfires that burned through much of the state, despite CAL FIRE finding the utility company’s equipment at fault. 

Sonoma County District Attorney Jill Ravitch announced today alongside attorneys from Napa, Lake and Humboldt counties that there was not enough evidence to prove PG&E acted with a reckless disregard for human life. 

Prosecutors say despite CAL FIRE finding PG&E equipment at fault for causing numerous Northern California fires, it was “particularly difficult” to prove that the company failed to remove trees leading up to the fires. Sonoma County’s district attorney says the areas where physical evidence could have been found was destroyed by the fires — making criminal negligence difficult to prove. 

PG&E remains on federal criminal probation because of the wildfires and is also the defendant in many civil lawsuits — including one filed by Sonoma County.

The company released a statement on Tuesday evening regarding the announcement:

“The safety of our customers, employees, contractors and the communities we serve remains our highest priority. We continue to focus on helping our customers and communities in these counties continue to recover and rebuild.”

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