Shutdown’s Toll on California, PG&E Challenge for Lawmakers

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Shutdown’s Toll on California
It’s been four weeks since the partial government shutdown started, forcing hundreds of thousands of federal employees to go on leave or work without pay. In the Bay Area, local food banks have reached out to affected federal workers and their families to offer assistance. President Trump is said to be considering using money earmarked for disaster relief projects to pay for the border wall that Democrats are refusing to fund. California could be especially hard hit with more than $2 billion in federal funds set aside for flood control and shoreline restoration projects in Northern and Central California.  

Guest:

  • U.S. Rep. John Garamendi (D-Fairfield)

PG&E Challenge for Lawmakers
On Monday, San Francisco-based utility giant PG&E announced that it intends to file for bankruptcy protection by the end of the month. It claims that the Chapter 11 process is “the only viable option” as it faces $30 billion in liability costs over catastrophic 2017 and 2018 wildfires. The company is already on probation for violating federal safety laws that led to a gas pipeline explosion in San Bruno in 2010 that killed eight people. We hear from a California lawmaker about his plans to protect ratepayers and wildfire victims while pushing for an overhaul of the troubled utility.

Guest:

  • California state Sen. Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo)

PG&E Bankruptcy’s Ripple Effects
PG&E is the largest utility in California, providing electricity and natural gas to 16 million customers in 70,000 square miles. While it says that there will be no disruption to service, ratepayers may end up paying more for their power. California’s ambitious clean energy goals could also be affected, ranging from the billions of dollars required to build thousands of new charging stations for electric vehicles to ramping up investments in renewable energy sources that will be critical to slashing greenhouse gas emissions.

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Guests:

  • Lisa Pickoff-White, data journalist, KQED
  • Severin Borenstein, professor, UC Berkeley Haas School of Business
  • Loretta Lynch, former president, California Public Utilities Commission