State must heed experts’ report on Oroville Dam

The state was ordered to use outside experts to determine what went wrong in last February’s Lake Oroville spillway debacle. It remains an open question as to whether the state will actually listen to those experts.

To the DWR Lake Oroville’s water is a commodity to be delivered to San Joaquin Valley farms and the cities in the south state as cheaply as possible.

The DWR is very good at ignoring what it doesn’t want to hear. Whether it’s warnings about the inadequacy of the emergency spillway, distrust in the community over its lack of transparency, concerns over the true costs of the Oroville hydroelectric project or the clumsiness in communication with the public before and after the spillway collapse, the agency seems convinced it is right and everybody else is wrong.

Which brings us back to the independent report. FERC is considering whether to grant the DWR a new license to continue to operate the Oroville project. We urge FERC to insist that any license renewal depend on the DWR making the recommended changes.


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