Would a private company have created the Oroville Dam disaster? If they did, would they face consequences?
The Oroville dam disaster in California should be understood in its context. Here’s footage from four days ago:
While there’s been much talk about the awesome power of nature, the real story is the awesome inability of government. Some other events that should be included when classifying this event is the failure of the levies in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, the bankruptcy of Detroit, the criminality involved in the unsafe water system in Flint, Michigan, and the government-caused blackouts in Southern California during a summer heat wave.
By way of contrast, you also might compare the Obama Administration’s response to the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Did they make excuses for BP?
When a dam is built, it is designed with the extremes of nature in mind. And it is supposed to be regularly inspected and maintained.
There is no way that the Oroville Dam disaster “just happened.” It was allowed to happen!
According to the Mercury News, officials at the state and federal level ignored warnings for over a decade.
More than a decade ago, federal and state officials and some of California’s largest water agencies rejected concerns that the massive earthen spillway at Oroville Dam — at risk of collapse Sunday night and prompting the evacuation of 185,000 people — could erode during heavy winter rains and cause a catastrophe.
Three environmental groups — the Friends of the River, the Sierra Club and the South Yuba Citizens League — filed a motion with the federal government on Oct. 17, 2005, as part of Oroville Dam’s relicensing process, urging federal officials to require that the dam’s emergency spillway be armored with concrete, rather than remain as an earthen hillside.
The groups filed the motion with FERC, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. They said that the dam, built and owned by the state of California, and finished in 1968, did not meet modern safety standards because in the event of extreme rain and flooding, fast-rising water would overwhelm the main concrete spillway, then flow down the emergency spillway, and that could cause heavy erosion that would create flooding for communities downstream, but also could cause a failure, known as “loss of crest control.”
Several state agencies assured the FERC that the concerns were baseless. They said such an event is unlikely and would not be beyond the capacity of the spillway.
Do you think there might be a conflict of interest when the state evaluates its own need to spend money on upgrades and repairs—especially when there are union pensions and other more politically rewarding ways to spend money?
Breitbart is right: it is the fault of both the California state government and the federal government. But, unlike a private company, I don’t expect anyone to be held accountable.
Meanwhile, Governor Jerry Brown is going to try to get American taxpayers to bail out California. The Mercury News reports,
In December, Gov. Jerry Brown asserted California’s independence and blasted President Donald Trump for dismissing climate change.
On Friday, the governor turned to his potential nemesis for help — specifically, asking the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to declare a major disaster after the state was hammered by storms, floods and mudslides.
The Oroville Dam disaster is probably going to reach each one of us through the federal government.