Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) released the following statement on news that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will cover 75 percent of the costs associated with repairing the Oroville Dam, including the main spillway:
“I am very concerned about the 84 California dams that have been rated by the state as ‘less than satisfactory’ and could cause loss of life or substantial economic damage if they fail.
“Oroville is one of these 84 dams, and FEMA’s decision to cover 75 percent of the costs to repair the spillway will help return the dam to fully safe condition.
“But I remain very concerned that there are still 83 other dams in similar condition.
“This must be a top priority for federal and state policymakers before we see another disaster like the 2017 Oroville Dam emergency when severe storms damaged the spillway. As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I will work to increase federal resources available to complete much-needed repairs at these dams.”
- In early 2017, Lake Oroville was near full capacity as a result of severe storms when the main spillway at the dam began to deteriorate. As a result, state and local authorities evacuated approximately 188,000 residents downriver from Oroville Lake and the governor declared a state of emergency.
- FEMA had earlier agreed to reimburse California for the cost of repairs to the Oroville spillway and this decision pledges 75 percent of the approximately $800 million in eligible state costs.
- Senator Feinstein had previously sent letters in support of California’s appeal to an initial FEMA decision that parts of the main spillway were not eligible for federal disaster assistance funding.