Dam Shame: Crisis in Oroville

15
Feb

Dam Shame: Crisis in Oroville

As evacuations occur and Californians keep a watchful eye on the spillway near Oroville Dam officials frantically worked “to siphon water from brimming Lake Oroville, channeling millions of gallons per minute down a damaged drainage chute.”

In Washington, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said, “The situation is a textbook example of why we need to pursue a major infrastructure package in Congress.” He noted, “Dams, bridges, roads and all ports around the country have fallen into disrepair. In order to prevent the next disaster, we will pursue the president’s vision for overhaul of our nation’s crumbling infrastructure.”

Federal agencies have been tapped to provide California with preliminary assistance at the same time reports came that federal and state officials may have ignored an alarm from water agencies more than a decade ago when they voiced concerns about the massive earthen spillway. What is clear is that Oroville Dam did not make Gov. Jerry Brown’s “infrastructure wish list.”

As The Atlantic reported, “The Oroville Dam may be the most urgent case in the country at this moment—it’s not often that nearly 200,000 people are forced to evacuate—but it’s hardly alone. In 2013, the American Society of Civil Engineers conducted its most recent quadrennial survey of the nation’s infrastructure, and it gave the U.S. a ‘D’ for maintenance of dams.”

It is vital to take action now! Too often we wait until after infrastructure fails, tragedy strikes and we find ourselves in a crisis situation.

Join the movement! California lawmakers need to hear your voice on infrastructure issues.

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