Strategizing Against the Flame: What's Next for California's Wildfires?

June 12, 2019 11:00 am — 12:30 pm
Los Angeles, CA (and webinar)

An ELI and Nossaman LLP Co-Sponsored Seminar

The 2018 wildfire season was the deadliest and most destructive recent wildfire season on record in California, destroying thousands of structures. California Governor Gavin Newsom has created a new strike force, charged with developing a comprehensive strategy to address the destabilizing effect of catastrophic wildfires. In April of this year, Governor Newsom announced the results of this effort in the highly-anticipated report, “Wildfires and Climate Change: California’s Energy Future” (“Strike Force Report”).

The Strike Force Report set out steps California must take to reduce wildfire incidence and severity, including significant wildfire mitigation and resiliency efforts.  Recognizing that climate change is a core driver of heightened wildfire risk, the report outlines a vision for clean energy policies to reduce the impacts of climate change on wildfire risk.  On the legal front, the report suggests that utility shareholders should continue to be responsible where a utility fails to operate safely, but that otherwise, a plan must allocate costs resulting from wildfires in a manner that shares the burden broadly among stakeholders.

Participants joined us for this crucial program leading up to the July 1 publication of the Commission on Catastrophic Wildfire Cost and Recovery’s set of recommendations to Governor Newsom and the California Legislature, built upon the Strike Force Report. Panelists explored wildfire liability, the proposed regulatory components set forth by the Strike Force Report, the challenges and benefits of each policy concept, the viability of various wildfire mitigation strategies, cost recovery options, inverse condemnation, and potential for incorporating climate impact research into wildfire policymaking.

Willis Hon
, Associate, Nossaman LLP, Moderator
Lloyd Dixon, Director, RAND Center for Catastrophic Risk Management and Compensation and Senior Economist, RAND Corporation
Kathleen Harrison, Principal Geologist, Geosyntec Consultants
David Pedersen, General Manager, Las Virgenes Municipal Water District

ELI members will have access to a recording of this session (usually posted w/in 48 hours). If you are not an ELI member but would like to have access to archived sessions like this one, go HERE to see the many benefits of membership and how to join.

Reference Materials:

New Tools and Sweeping Changes Proposed in Draft Wildfire Commission Report (Nossaman Alert, May 30, 2019)
New De-Energization Guidelines Implemented Just in Time for the 2019 Wildfire Season (Nossaman Alert, June 11, 2019)
Landmark Legislation Creates New Wildfire Fund and Overhauls California's Approach to Catastrophic Wildfires (Nossaman Alert, July 12, 2019)