Local representatives take Oroville Dam concerns to Washington D.C.


OROVILLE, Calif. - After a trip to Washington D.C., Assemblyman James Gallagher said his constituents concerns regarding the Oroville Dam were well received.

Senator Jim Nielsen, Assemblyman James Gallagher and representatives from the Oroville Dam Coalition went to D.C to ask for federal assistance with issues about the spillway crisis.

Among those concerns were what Gallagher said needs to happen before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC, renews a 50-year license with the Department of Water Resources for the Oroville Dam.

Back in August, these same politicians and officials sent a letter to FERC asking that it holds off on the renewal until the cause of the spillway failure is released.

Assemblyman Gallagher said in D.C., FERC commissioners told them they will have a process to help ensure community input from those affected will be considered before any decision to renew is made.

"I think it was received really well. We actually had one of the FERC commissioners commit to coming out here to visit Oroville," said Assemblyman Gallagher over the phone. "We're not against a 50-year license being granted, but there needs to be some conditions on it to ensure that they, you know, keep the community safe and that they mitigate the impacts from the spillway crisis."

Gallagher also said he voiced concerns about massive sediment buildup that still remains in the Feather River due to the erosion. He wants DWR to be responsible for removing these sand bars and trees that are now a public safety hazard to boaters, adding that it has the potential to cause levy failures downstream.

The assemblyman said he stands with many others in calling for independent oversight team that will look over the repairs and DWR's decisions about the dam from here on out.

Butte County Supervisor Bill Connelly, Oroville Chamber of Commerce President Sandy Linville, and Darin Gale with the City of Yuba City also went to Washington D.C., representing the Oroville Dam Coalition.

The group's schedule included briefings with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the United States Army Corp of Engineers, as well as meetings with the Federal Highway Administration regarding Highway 70 improvements.

In a press release, Senator Jim Nielsen said, "Since February, we've been told by DWR and other state agencies that 'everything is on the table' when it comes to the future of the Oroville Dam complex. We are hopeful that our federal partners will help us get the answers we need and ensure that our communities are given a seat at the table as long-term plans are being developed. This trip is another step to ensure that our community's voice is heard."

For a full copy of the letter the coalition sent to FERC, click here.

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