C.E. Dyer reports that groups warned over a decade ago that a spillway in California was dangerous and needed to be upgraded, yet federal and state officials decided to blow it off. Now thousands of people had to be evacuated this past Sunday due to fears that the spillway might collapse and result in one of the most devastating dam failures in this nation’s history.
The Mercury News reported:
More than a decade ago, federal and state officials and some of California’s largest water agencies rejected concerns that the massive earthen spillway at Oroville Dam — at risk of collapse Sunday night and prompting the evacuation of 185,000 people — could erode during heavy winter rains and cause a catastrophe.
Three environmental groups — the Friends of the River, the Sierra Club and the South Yuba Citizens League — filed a motion with the federal government on Oct. 17, 2005, as part of Oroville Dam’s relicensing process, urging federal officials to require that the dam’s emergency spillway be armored with concrete, rather than remain as an earthen hillside.
The environmental groups wrote: “A loss of crest control could not only cause additional damage to project lands and facilities but also cause damages and threaten lives in the protected floodplain downstream.”
Here’s who was responsible, according to Mercury News:
FERC rejected that request, however, after the state Department of Water Resources, and the water agencies that would likely have had to pay the bill for the upgrades, said they were unnecessary. Those agencies included the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, which provides water to 19 million people in Los Angeles, San Diego and other areas, along with the State Water Contractors, an association of 27 agencies that buy water from the state of California through the State Water Project. The association includes the Metropolitan Water District, Kern County Water Agency, the Santa Clara Valley Water District and the Alameda County Water District.
But hey, go ahead and become a sanctuary state, California — then you can divert even more scarce resources from such “unnecessary” things like dam safety and infrastructure to illegal immigrants. Oh, and good luck with that secession movement — looks like California’s got things all figured out.