California Governor Jerry Brown has formally requested federal assistance from President Donald Trump to deal with the evacuation of nearly 200,000 people from the area below the Oroville Dam, where a spillway is near structural failure.
The Associated Press, via Bay Area news station KRON 4, reports:
OROVILLE, Calif. (AP) — Gov. Jerry Brown is asking the Trump administration for federal assistance in responding to a potential failure of a spillway at the Oroville Dam in Northern California.
In a letter to President Donald Trump released Monday, Brown asks for help for the three Northern California counties affected.
Brown says aid is needed to assist the 188,000 residents of Butte, Sutter and Yuba counties who were ordered to evacuate Sunday after concerns an emergency spillway could give way, unleashing a gush of water to downstream towns.
Though vowing to fight the Trump administration on a variety of issues — Obamacare, immigration, climate change — Brown has been less hostile than the members of the California state legislature and has openly welcomed President Trump’s plans to spend on infrastructure.
Brown’s letter reportedly stated: “I have determined this incident is of such severity and magnitude . . . that federal assistance is necessary to save lives and to protect property, public health and safety”
According to the East Bay Times, Brown told a press conference on Monday that he had not been aware until news reports emerged earlier this week that the state and federal government had resisted calls to improve the dam spillway in 2005.
Critics charge that Brown has not shown sufficient interest in upgrading the state’s dams or expanding water storage.
Officials are racing to lower the level of the lake behind the dam by 50 feet before a week of wet weather arrives Wednesday and Thursday.