PG&E Prosecution Is Welcome, But Executives Must Be Held Accountable Too

Statement of Rick Claypool, Research Director, Public Citizen’s President’s Office

Note: Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) will plead guilty to involuntary manslaughter charges stemming from California’s catastrophic Camp Fire in 2018, which killed at least 84 people. Public Citizen applauds the prosecutors at the Butte County District Attorney’s Office and the California Attorney General’s Office for seeking and securing PG&E’s guilty plea.

Corporate negligence kills.

While many law enforcement officials bend over backward to offer even the most egregious corporate lawbreakers excessive lenience, California’s prosecutors are stepping up.

To deter corporate crime, corporate recidivists like PG&E must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

But prosecutors should not stop at this guilty plea. Investigations by the California attorney general and district attorney should continue so that any individual executives who also may be culpable in PG&E’s crimes can be prosecuted and brought to justice. And as PG&E was already on probation after the deadly gas explosion in San Bruno, revocation of the corporation’s charter should be considered as well.