State Officials Testify Before Lawmakers on Oroville Dam Spillway Failure

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

In a special hearing, the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee called on Natural Resources Secretary John Laird and Department of Water Resources Acting Director Bill Croyle to speak before the Legislature and the public Thursday.

“This is a positive step in the right direction,” said Senator Jim Nielsen (R-Tehama). “Having an open dialogue with the decision makers will help assure the public that their concerns are being heard. I thank Chairman Hertzberg for his leadership to encourage the beginning of a long and in-depth discussion.”

In the 90 minutes allotted, Secretary Laird and Acting Director Croyle provided a brief update to the repair under way at the Oroville Dam spillway. Fiercely advocating for their constituents, Senator Jim Nielsen (R-Tehama) and Assemblyman James Gallagher (R-Yuba City) questioned officials on the timing of the repair.

These administration officials assured lawmakers and the public that the spillways will be ready to use by November 1, the beginning of the next rainy season.

On February 7, the main spillway of the nation’s tallest earthen dam eroded and eventually failed – causing the evacuation of nearly 200,000 people and their animals.

Since the evacuation, North State representatives have pushed for greater public disclosure and more in-depth legislative hearings to provide the transparency and accountability the citizens deserve.

Members of the Oroville City Council travelled to Sacramento to share with legislators their experiences during the evacuation. Vice Mayor Janet Goodson and Councilmember Linda Draper spoke to the committee.