Dam, We Need Transparency

April 2, 2017

 

 

We won't forget when the Oroville spillways were damaged sending 180,000 residents from Oroville and surrounding areas to safe locations throughout Northern California. 

 

Fast forward to today when people are asking questions about how it happened, when will the repairs start, can it be repaired in time for the next rainy season?

State and federal officials are blocking the public's ability to review documents that could answer some of our questions. They are citing the reason as potential security risks. One of the documents is a memo from an independent panel of experts brought in to guide state officials' repair plans and another is a document labeled "Project Safety Compliance Report."

State Senator Jim Nielsen is calling for an oversight hearing. 

 

"I am alarmed and on the verge of outrage," Neilsen states, "We have and absolute, significant public safety concern. We need to know what the cause they have to believe that there's such a risk, or is that just cover-up?" Jim Neilsen represents the region that was evacuated in February.

“Within the bounds of security restrictions, DWR is committed to regularly updating the public on the findings and recommendations of the Board of Consultants and on the work to rebuild the Oroville spillways before the next storm season,” said Lauren Bisnett said in an email but declined to have an interview with The Sacramento Bee.

The reports were sealed after The Sacramento Bee reported on a memo by four engineering consultants pointing to design flaws in the main spillway that might have been the cause of the gaping hole that formed on February 7th. The experts also questioned whether is was a realistic expectation that a permanent repair could happen before the fall.

 

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's website says a document can be confidential if it "gives strategic information" related to "the production, generation, transmission, or distribution of energy or could be "useful to a person planning an attack on critical infrastructure."

A press conference is scheduled this week. Hopefully many will have their questions answered. First and foremost, how did this happen in the first place? An error in judgement was made, was it during construction, during the many patch fixes or was it a failure to invest in our infrastructure?"

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