US Bankruptcy Judge Dennis Montali has indicated that claims against Pacific Gas and Electric by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and a California state agency could be sharply reduced because of duplication. The two agencies are pursuing a total of $6.3 billion in connection with three fatal California wildfires, but a lawyer said that only $290 million of the California agency's claim does not overlap with FEMA's claim.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration suspended passenger trials of EasyMile self-driving shuttles after one of the vehicles made a sudden stop, causing a passenger to slide off a seat. France's EasyMile can continue to run the vehicles as long as there are no passengers aboard.
Areas of the eastern Great Lakes region are forecast to see feet of lake-effect snow as well as blizzard conditions through Saturday. A lakeshore flood warning is in effect for areas of New York along Lake Erie and Lake Ontario because of strong wind and high water levels.
US Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen told Congress this week that a proposed budget would require "tough choices and trade-offs" in wildfire-mitigation efforts. Some lawmakers highlighted concerns about losing funding for a program that has helped more than a dozen states with prescribed burns and forest-thinning projects.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency estimates that only about 4% of properties are covered through the National Flood Insurance Program, and NFIP policies are in place for only an estimated one-third of properties in high-risk areas. That can make recovery after a serious flooding event highly challenging, experts say.
The Indiana Senate has approved legislation that would prohibit the handheld use of a telecommunications device while operating a motor vehicle, advancing the measure for final House approval before it moves to Gov. Eric Holcomb's desk. The bill's supporters include law-enforcement officials, who say the state's existing ban on texting while driving is challenging to enforce.
A Tesla SUV driver likely was distracted by a smartphone game at the time of a deadly crash in 2018 in Mountain View, Calif., and the vehicle's Autopilot driver-assistance feature was dealing with conditions it was unable to navigate, the National Transportation Safety Board said. The NTSB is recommending additional safeguards for smartphones and Autopilot to improve driver safety.
Mallinckrodt, which manufactures generic drugs, has reached a tentative $1.6 billion settlement of lawsuits for its role in the US opioid crisis. The company is filing for bankruptcy as part of the deal with attorneys for thousands of local governments.
Pacific Gas and Electric CEO Bill Johnson said a "lack of accountability" among the utility's previous management has resulted in a poor safety record. Johnson testified before the California Public Utilities Commission that PG&E is making progress in improving safety in the aftermath of deadly wildfires blamed on its equipment.
The Army Corps of Engineers has indefinitely suspended a study of measures to safeguard the New York City area against storm surge. The $19 million study involves such potential projects as a five-mile retractable barrier that would offer flood protection along New York Harbor.