Legislators vote to keep dam emergency plans secret

Fresh off the Oroville Dam crisis, California lawmakers on Thursday voted to make dam-safety plans secret through language that was quietly inserted into a budget-related bill.

The legislation, which requires Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature before becoming law, says emergency action plans at dams would be kept confidential to “protect public safety.”

Assemblyman James Gallagher, R-Yuba City, said slipping the language into a budget-related bill, Senate Bill 92, without debate was “kind of insulting, really” to the 188,000 evacuees such as him who were forced to flee their homes for two days after the near-failure of Oroville’s emergency spillway.

The language is included in one of several so-called budget trailer bills that carry out policy embodied in the main spending bill for the fiscal year beginning July 1.

The additional layer of secrecy comes as the state Department of Water Resources already files its emergency plans for Oroville Dam with federal regulators under seal, through a provision that makes secret “critical energy infrastructure information.”

Source: The Sacramento Bee


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