FEMA questions #OrovilleDam maintenance, Federal relief funds may be at risk

The amount of money the Federal government reimburses California for repairs to Oroville Dam could depend on whether the state properly maintained the dam’s spillway prior to it crumbling this winter, a state water official told lawmakers Thursday.

“Was this deferred maintenance?” Bill Croyle, the acting director of the state Department of Water Resources, told members of the Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee.

“Is there a maintenance issue here because they’re not going to cover that. If it’s an emergency response, they’re going to cover.”

Croyle and two other state officials frustrated some of the lawmakers at the oversight hearing because they declined to speculate on whether the state indeed allowed maintenance woes to fester.

FEMA spokesman Victor Inge said his agency is working with the state to try to figure out whether February’s storms or pre-existing problems caused most of the spillway damage.

FEMA doesn’t “cover damage that occurred prior to the incident,” Inge said.

California officials have asked the federal government to pay up to 75 percent of the ongoing costs of the repair and recovery efforts.

Read the whole story in the Sacramento Bee

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