A utility thought forced power outages would check wildfires. It hasn’t really worked.
Investigators are looking into whether fires ravaging Northern California may have been sparked by Pacific Gas & Electric equipment, deepening skepticism around the utility’s controversial plan to prevent fires in the region by shutting off power to millions of residents.
“Up to 2 million people were affected in the largest blackout over the weekend,” says corporate accountability reporter Douglas MacMillan. His colleagues from The Post visited people affected by the shutdowns, who told them they had to spend their nights huddled around a gas fireplace to stay warm.
In the meantime, nearly 200,000 wine-country residents have had to evacuate as a windstorm has complicated efforts to contain a major blaze in Northern California. Now many are wondering why PG&E hasn’t invested in underground power lines.
- PG&E’s role in Sonoma fire questioned as power outage frustrations grow
- High-voltage PG&E power line broke near origin of massive fire in California wine country
- What’s driving the historic California high-wind events and worsening the fires
In a story about fires in California, we said that no company has ever shut off the power to prevent forest fires. That’s actually not the case — it has happened before, but no utility company has ever done these kinds of blackouts at this scale in the United States, affecting millions of people. The audio has been updated to reflect this change.
Trump promised to eliminate the national debt. Instead, it’s getting bigger.
In fiscal 2019, the United States ran a near-trillion-dollar deficit — an increase of more than 26 percent from the year before.
The country’s worsening fiscal picture runs in sharp contrast to Donald Trump’s campaign promise to eliminate the national debt within eight years. The deficit is up nearly 50 percent in the Trump era. Since taking office, President Trump has endorsed big spending increases and historic tax cuts.
“This is an unprecedented increase during good economic times,” says reporter Heather Long. “If we’re booming as much as the president says, we should be taking in a lot more tax dollars from corporations and individuals who are working again, and that’s just not happening. And on top of that, both the president and Republicans and Democrats in Congress just keep edging up the spending.”
- U.S. deficit hit $984 billion in 2019, soaring during Trump era
- Trump vowed to eliminate the debt in 8 years. He’s on track to leave it at least 50% higher.
Why the NCAA is changing its rules about paying college athletes
The NCAA has announced plans to allow college athletes to profit off of the use of their name, image and likeness, amid rising pressure from state and federal lawmakers to acknowledge their part in a $10 billion industry.
In a statement released Tuesday, the organization for the first time publicly considered allowing college athletes to trade on their fame – but provided few specifics for how doing so could be reconciled with what they call the “collegiate model,” which prohibits such benefits.
“What’s important to note is that the NCAA really wants to maintain control of this system,” says sports business reporter Ben Strauss. “This is not an effort to open the door to athletes being able to pursue their own market value.”
Mike DeBonis on what the upcoming impeachment vote means. Josh White on why the Supreme Court is considering whether a D.C. sniper should be resentenced. And Hawken Miller on the people getting coaches to improve their video game playing.
Tuesday, October 29, 2019
Brady Dennis examines the effect of climate change on Canadian islands. Karen DeYoung clarifies the complicated U.S.-Turkey relationship. Maura Judkis on a cradle of outlandish Halloween costumes. And Tracy Grant celebrates D.C.’s World Series win.
Thursday, October 31, 2019