The Blame Game: Gov. Newsom slams PG&E over ‘unacceptable’ power outages and failure to fix systems || LA Times
“At a news conference Wednesday evening, PG&E officials signaled that these types of massive shut-offs during fire season might be the new normal.
Sumeet Singh, vice president of PG&E’s community wildfire safety program, said customers should anticipate similar shutdowns in the future until the utility has finished its wildfire safety plan, “unless the weather changes significantly and the vegetation condition and the fuel-loading condition, and land and the forest management, changes significantly within the state.”
“We understand that this power shut-off is difficult for our customers and communities. Please check on your neighbors, friends and family and know that we will work safely, and quickly as possible, to restore power across the region,” Singh said.
The power shut-offs have prompted backlash, with some residents saying they create a whole new set of dangers as they try to keep up with news about fires. Critics worry that communications and evacuations will be hampered when the power is out, especially if traffic signals don’t work and cellphone service is affected.
There also was concern about how those with health issues who rely on electrically powered medical equipment to stay alive would cope without power.
The outage prompted UC Berkeley to cancel classes for a second consecutive day. University officials say some buildings are running on generator power for “life safety, animal care and support of critical research infrastructure.” However, the generators cannot power the entire campus.
The Oakland Zoo also remained closed after the region lost power overnight. The zoo had closed ahead of the planned blackout, and staff rushed out to purchase additional generators to power exhibits for animal safety. The gas they have will power the generators for about four days, Darren Minier, assistant director of animal care, told the San Francisco Chronicle.
In Southern California, residents have anxiously watched how the power shutdowns have affected other parts of the state, wondering if it was a glimpse of what was to come for them.
About two hours northwest of Sacramento in Clearlake, residents entered their second full day without power. At the local Safeway, which had a generator to provide electricity, customers searched for ice and charcoal hoping to save or cook the groceries in their refrigerators.
At a nearby senior center, PG&E set up a charging station in a back room for cellphones and medical equipment. At least 150 people had visited Wednesday, said representative Conrad Asper. By lunchtime Thursday, there had been more than 250.
Paul Spillane, 79, expressed what was a common sentiment at the center: frustration with PG&E.
“I think it’s an outrage,“ he said of the blackouts. “I say it’s the three most miserable days I’ve had since I’ve been up here. I haven’t been eating properly or anything.“
Amee Peterson, 66, said she feels so dirty from a lack of hot showers that she’s considering boiling water on the barbecue to wash her hair. On Wednesday night, she ate cake for dinner because she couldn’t cook. Peterson, who has post-traumatic stress disorder, fibromialgia and other conditions, said she received automated calls warning her of the blackout, but they were not specific. When the power cut out at 1 a.m. while she was reading a book, she was surprised. Even more frustrating, she said, has been the lack of clarity on when power might return.”
Gov. Brown vetoed 2016 bill aimed at power line, wildfire safety
|| San Jose Mercury News Oct 2017
“Serious questions are once again being asked about the safety of overhead electrical wires in a state prone to drought and fierce winds.”
“A year ago, a bipartisan bill aimed at reducing the risk of wildfires from overhead electrical lines went to Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk.
It was vetoed.
The author of the measure — passed unanimously by both houses of the Legislature — now says the governor missed out on a chance to tackle one of his state’s longstanding vulnerabilities: massive wildfires endangering residential communities. But the governor’s office and the California Public Utilities Commission say the bill duplicated efforts already underway among the CPUC, Cal Fire and utilities like PG&E.
Now, as a series of deadly fires rages in Wine Country, serious questions are once again being asked about the safety of overhead electrical wires in a state prone to drought and fierce winds.
On Wednesday, Cal Fire said that investigators have started looking into whether toppled power wires and exploding transformers Sunday night may have ignited the simultaneous string of blazes.
The acknowledgment followed publication of a review by the Bay Area News Group of Sonoma County firefighters’ radio transmissions in the fires’ infancy that found that there were numerous downed and arcing wires. In the first 90 minutes Sunday night, firefighters were sent to 10 different spots where problems had been reported with the area’s electrical infrastructure. The crews reported seeing sparking lines and transformers.
During that same time period, radio transmissions indicate 28 blazes — both vegetation and structure fires — breaking out, mostly in Sonoma County. Firefighters were sent to eight fallen tree calls, with many reports of blocked roadways.
“Those were witnessed,” Cal Fire spokeswoman Lynne Tolmachoff said Wednesday, regarding the blown transformers and downed wires. “However, you have to go and look to see if it was a cause of the fire or as a result of the fire.”
The state’s fire agency has said it has ruled out lightning, but said the investigation continues for an official cause of the blazes, which as of late Wednesday had killed 23 people and destroyed more than 3,500 structures in Sonoma, Napa and other Northern California counties.
PG&E acknowledges there were troubles with its equipment Sunday night, but says blaming the utility’s electrical system for the fires at this point would be “highly speculative.” It has labeled the conditions in the first hours of the fires a “historic wind event.”
But meterologist Jan Null, owner of Golden Gate Weather Services in Saratoga, said that Sunday night’s winds, while strong, were not “hurricane force” and had been surpassed in previous storms. Atlas Peak had gusts of 32 miles per hour at 9 p.m. on Sunday night, Null said. By comparison, the peak had gusts of 66 mph in last February.
SB 1463 had been introduced in last year’s legislative session by Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa. The bill would have required the state to identify the places most at risk for wildfires and would have required the CPUC to beef up plans to prevent fires sparked by power lines — including moving lines underground if necessary.
But Brown said the bill was unnecessary. “Since May of last year, the Commission and CalFire have been doing just that through the existing proceeding on fire-threat maps and fire-safety regulations,” he said in his veto message. “This deliberative process should continue and the issues this bill seeks to address should be raised in that forum.”
But the senator isn’t buying it.
“Up until my bill those guys were doing nothing,” Moorlach said Wednesday. “I think you got some false information.”
He said his bill would’ve sped up what had become a cumbersome process and given local communities more of a voice by clarifying how fire risk is defined.
Had the governor signed his bill into law, he added, “I think it would have changed things. … I think it would’ve given Cal Fire a whole different set of priorities.”
Brown’s sister Kathleen, he pointed out, served on the board of the energy services holding company, Sempra. Power and utility companies, Moorlach said, “didn’t want to spend the money” making things safer by moving lines underground.
That’s “so outrageous it doesn’t merit a response,” Evan Westrup, a spokesman for the governor’s office, said of the notion that the governor didn’t sign the bill to somehow help out Sempra. “It’s unfortunate this particular individual is trying to score political points by peddling inaccurate, self-serving claims at a time like this.”
CPUC spokeswoman Terrie Prosper said the years-long CPUC and Cal Fire effort has already reached key goals.
Phase One was completed in 2015 and Phase Two is nearly done as well, which will implement new fire safety regulations in high priority areas of the state.
PG&E has paid millions of dollars in fines and settlements over the years for its failure to properly maintain vegetation clearance around its electrical lines when it led to massive fires.
In April, the state Public Utilities Commission fined PG&E $8.3 million for failing to maintain a power line that sparked the Butte fire in Amador County in September 2015. That fire burned for 22 days, killing two people, destroying 549 homes and charring 70,868 acres.”
As Carr Fire grows, bodies of woman, 2 children found in Redding ruins, Governor Brown Missing In Action
“REDDING — The bodies of a great-grandmother and two young children, reported missing soon after a huge wildfire began its push into Redding two days ago, were found Saturday in the ashes of their home.
Family members had mounted a desperate search for Melody Bledsoe and her great-grandchildren, Emily Roberts, 5, and James Roberts, 4, at shelters and hospitals. They were ultimately summoned to the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office, sobbing and hugging as they entered the building, to hear the news.
The family said authorities told them the 4-year-old had called 911 from the house.
“My nephew called, scared, for help, but they said they couldn’t make it in time,” said Carla Bledsoe, the children’s aunt.
Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko confirmed bodies were found at the scene, although the victims have not been officially identified.
The confirmation from the family brought the death toll in the Shasta County Carr Fire to five, including two firefighters killed earlier. One was bulldozer operator Don Ray Smith, 81, of Pollock Pines, who authorities identified Saturday. Also killed was Jeremy Stoke, a fire inspector with the Redding Fire Department.
The massive wildfire continued to rage out of control, prompting new evacuations to be added to the nearly 40,000 people displaced by the blaze. One of the main evacuation shelters in Redding was at capacity, and additional shelters in churches opened to meet demand.
The aggressive blaze, fueled by winds and scorching temperatures — it was 104 in Redding on Saturday — nearly doubled in size from Friday to Saturday. It grew to 80,906 acres — about 125 square miles — and was only 5 percent contained, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Safety. On Friday, the fire was 48,312 acres.
The blaze ignited Monday from a vehicle mechanical failure near Whiskeytown, about 30 miles west of Redding, fire officials said. High temperatures and low humidity made the blaze unpredictable and fast-moving, creating fire tornadoes that uprooted trees and overturned cars. It was growing on three different fronts, officials said.”
Question: Why is Gov Jerry Brown MIA? Where is he? What is he doing?
Carr Fire update: 38,000 evacuated, 500 buildings burned as blaze ravages Redding area
|| Mercury News
“REDDING — Adding a shocking new intensity to California’s already bad summer fire season, a major fire continued to rage out of control Friday in Shasta County, burning homes in city neighborhoods in Redding and displacing 38,000 people as firefighters battled in temperatures close to 110 degrees.
The Carr Fire, which began Monday, has killed two firefighters, injured three more, destroyed 500 structures, scorched more than 45,000 acres and is threatening thousands of homes across the city.
“It was like a tornado,” said Joyce Cox-Sacco, of Redding. “It was so horrific.”
From her home on Amethyst Way, Cox-Sacco watched from a distance Thursday night as firefighters battled the fire on a nearby ridge. But as darkness fell, she said, the fire started advancing quickly toward her house, and she knew she had to leave.
On Friday, Cox-Sacco was boarding up the garage door of her house, which was ripped off, along with the roof, during the fire. The top of her chimney lay across the street, having been swept off by wind or debris as the fire barreled through her neighborhood.
Officials with Cal Fire, the state’s firefighting agency, reiterated Friday the danger facing Redding, and the region around the city of 91,000 people. The National Weather Service issued a red flag warning for Redding through Monday morning, with temperatures up to a scorching 111 degrees.
“These are extreme conditions,” Cal Fire Chief Ken Pimlott said during a news conference. “Evacuate. Evacuate. Evacuate. Leave before you are asked to leave.”
“A Temecula man pleaded not guilty Friday to charges he intentionally started nine fires, including the still-burning Cranston Fire that has scorched more than 12,000 acres in the Idyllwild area.
Brandon McGlover, 32, was charged with 15 felony counts in connection with the nine separate fires, which were started Wednesday in the Idyllwild, Anza and Sage areas, the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office stated in a news release.
McGlover was arrested without incident that same day the fire started, shortly after he was detained by members of the Hemet/San Jacinto Gang Task Force who located him in the area.
The largest of the fires McGlover allegedly started was still burning Friday in the Idyllwild area. The Cranston Fire had scorched 12,300 acres, destroyed at least five homes, and was about 16 percent contained as of Friday evening.
McGlover has been charged with one count of aggravated arson, five counts of arson of an inhabited structure, and nine counts of arson of forest or wildland.
He entered a not guilty plea Friday afternoon at the Southwest Justice Center in Murrieta. He was ordered to return for a felony settlement conference on Sept. 24.
ICE Detainer Issued for Suspected Wine Country Arsonist in Sonoma Jail
“The U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) issued a detainer request on the Sonoma County Jail for Jesus Fabian Gonzalez, who was arrested Sunday on suspicion of arson in Wine Country fires that have killed at least 40 residents.
Breitbart News reported earlier this week that Sonoma County Sheriffs had arrested Jesus Fabian Gonzalez, 29, at Maxwell Regional Park in Sonoma County after a series of reports of ongoing fires in the region. Mr. Gonzalez was observed around 3:00 p.m. PDT wearing a jacket and walking “out of the creek area and a plume of smoke behind him,” according to the Santa Rosa Press Democrat.
Mr. Gonzalez, who is homeless and reportedly known by law enforcement to have been living under a nearby bridge, claimed he was cold and had lit the fire to stay warm. But it was a balmy 78 degrees when he and the plume of smoke were first observed.
Mr. Gonzalez was booked into the Sonoma County Jail for suspicion of felony arson. His bail was set at a steep $110,000, according to the Sonoma County Sheriff Public Information Officer.
Sargent Spencer Crum told Breitbart that Mr. Gonzalez is also on a U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) detainer request, despite Sonoma County declaring itself as a “sanctuary county” in May 2014. The county only cooperates with “ICE holds” if the prisoner has been convicted of a felony or any misdemeanor offence that falls within the Trust Act within the last five years. Mr. Gonzalez’s immigration status has not yet been announced.”
“FBI uncovered Russian bribery plot before Obama administration approved controversial nuclear deal with Moscow
|| The Hill
“Before the Obama administration approved a controversial deal in 2010 giving Moscow control of a large swath of American uranium, the FBI had gathered substantial evidence that Russian nuclear industry officials were engaged in bribery, kickbacks, extortion and money laundering designed to grow Vladimir Putin’s atomic energy business inside the United States, according to government documents and interviews.
Federal agents used a confidential U.S. witness working inside the Russian nuclear industry to gather extensive financial records, make secret recordings and intercept emails as early as 2009 that showed Moscow had compromised an American uranium trucking firm with bribes and kickbacks in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, FBI and court documents show.
They also obtained an eyewitness account — backed by documents — indicating Russian nuclear officials had routed millions of dollars to the U.S. designed to benefit former President Bill Clinton’s charitable foundation during the time Secretary of State Hillary Clinton served on a government body that provided a favorable decision to Moscow, sources told The Hill.
The racketeering scheme was conducted “with the consent of higher level officials” in Russia who “shared the proceeds” from the kickbacks, one agent declared in an affidavit years later.
Rather than bring immediate charges in 2010, however, the Department of Justice (DOJ) continued investigating the matter for nearly four more years, essentially leaving the American public and Congress in the dark about Russian nuclear corruption on U.S. soil during a period when the Obama administration made two major decisions benefiting Putin’s commercial nuclear ambitions.
In 2011, the administration gave approval for Rosatom’s Tenex subsidiary to sell commercial uranium to U.S. nuclear power plants in a partnership with the United States Enrichment Corp. Before then, Tenex had been limited to selling U.S. nuclear power plants reprocessed uranium recovered from dismantled Soviet nuclear weapons under the 1990s Megatons to Megawatts peace program.
“The Russians were compromising American contractors in the nuclear industry with kickbacks and extortion threats, all of which raised legitimate national security concerns. And none of that evidence got aired before the Obama administration made those decisions,” a person who worked on the case told The Hill, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution by U.S. or Russian officials.”
Gregg Jarrett: Mueller and Rosenstein Hid Clinton-Russia Bribery Scandal From Congress
“It was reported earlier today that the FBI uncovered Russian bribery of the Clintons in 2009 and the Department of Justice and the FBI sat on this for four more years.
Worse yet, fromtoday’s report we discovered the investigation was supervised by then-U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein, who is now President Trump’s Deputy Attorney General, and then-Assistant FBI Director Andrew McCabe, who is now the deputy FBI director under Trump.
Rosenstein and Mueller also sat on the CFIUS committee that approved the sale of 20% of US uranium reserves to Russia despite knowing Russia had bribed the Clintons for the illicit sale.
This further tarnishes this respected organization’s good name.
Tonight Gregg Jarrett told Sean Hannity that corrupt Robert Mueller and Rod Rosenstein must resign immediately.”
A race against Mother Nature as officials send water cascading out of Lake Oroville
– LA Times
“With more storms expected to slam Northern California later this week, officials worked frantically Monday to drain water from brimming Lake Oroville in hopes of heading off a potentially catastrophic flood.
The operators at America’s tallest dam found themselves in a precarious position Monday, with both of the spillways used to release water compromised and the reservoir still filled almost to capacity after a winter of record rain and snow. Meanwhile, tens of thousands of evacuated residents downstream of the dam still have no clear word when they can return home.
Officials sent millions of gallons of water per minute down the massive reservoir’s main spillway. Engineers said that despite a huge gash that opened in the concrete channel a week ago, it was their best option for lowering the dangerously high lake level.
They hoped this would avert further use of the emergency spillway, where damage was discovered Sunday afternoon.
“It was the lesser of two evils,” state Department of Water Resources spokesman Eric See said Monday. “We didn’t want to have more damage, but we needed to evacuate water.”
The emergency spillway suffered severe erosion the day after water cascaded down the unpaved hillside for the first time since the dam opened in 1968.
The damage occurred even though the spillway was designed to handle much more water than the amount that overflowed. Some questioned why officials didn’t heed suggestions more than a decade ago to fortify the emergency spillway.
When it appeared the erosion could quickly worsen Sunday afternoon and potentially undermine the spillway’s concrete lip — a scenario that could unleash a massive wall of water — officials ordered more than 100,000 people to evacuate the low-lying areas along the Feather River.
Racing against Mother Nature, water resources officials Monday sent water surging down the concrete main spillway — a move that lowered the lake level by several feet but threatened to widen the gash. Erosion on the main spillway so far was manageable, See said.
“I’ve been doing these flood battles since 1978,” said state Sen. Jim Nielsen (R-Gerber). “This is the one with the greatest potential for damage of all the ones I’ve dealt with.”
Both spillways are separate from the Oroville Dam itself, which officials say is not in danger of collapsing.
Officials said they want to lower the lake 50 feet by Wednesday to avoid another overflow on the damaged emergency spillway. If the head of the spillway crumbles, a 30-foot wall of water could go crashing down the hillside into the Feather River and toward Oroville, Marysville and Yuba City.
“Obviously any rain this week is not helpful at all,” said Tom Dang, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Sacramento.
On Monday, geysers of water shot from the placid lake and down the concrete spillway, like a water slide the width of a freeway.
Helicopters flew overhead and dump trucks shuttled across the top of Oroville Dam, carrying loads of rock to fill the eroded section. Without reinforcements, water could creep beneath the lip, causing it to crumble and allowing water to gush over the side.
In a letter Monday, Gov. Jerry Brown asked the Trump administration for a federal disaster declaration, saying the problems were likely to be more than local and state officials can handle.
Brown told reporters that he spoke to a member of the president’s Cabinet on Monday, but declined to say which one. “My office has been in touch with the White House,” Brown said. “I think that will be sufficient.”
The Federal Emergency Management Agency, meanwhile, sent an eight-person team to the area to help California officials prepare for potential flooding.
“We are trying to plan for the worst-case scenario,” said Ahsha Tribble, acting regional administrator for FEMA’s Region 9, which includes California. “It’s not a wait-and-see game.”
Evacuees stranded with no end in sight to Lake Oroville crisis
– SF Gate
OROVILLE, Butte County — The crisis at Lake Oroville may grind on for weeks or longer — leaving the nearly 200,000 people ordered to evacuate on Sunday in nail-biting limbo as crews work to flush water out of the reservoir and shore up a badly eroded emergency spillway, officials said Monday.
State water officials have been purging nearly 100,000 cubic feet of water per second out of the reservoir’s damaged but functioning primary spillway, an effort that brought the level down below the lip of the emergency spillway Sunday night, averting catastrophe.
But they are just beginning to assess the scope of the weekend damage, a first step in developing a plan to secure the reservoir and allow residents to return to their homes.
More rain is forecast to soak Lake Oroville and the surrounding mountains beginning Wednesday night, increasing the urgency of the work being done at the reservoir.
Gov. Jerry Brown said Monday evening that there might be an indication Tuesday on when evacuees can return to their towns, but added that caution was the watchword. “Better safe than sorry,” he said.
“My message is that we’re doing everything we can to get this dam in shape so they can return and live safely,” said the governor, who declared a state of emergency Sunday to mobilize disaster resources.
Crews noticed Sunday that the hillside under the emergency spillway — also called the auxiliary spillway — had begun rapidly deteriorating, just one day after water started cascading over its ledge for the first time since the Oroville Dam was put into operation in 1968.
That deep erosion scar carved its way back to the foot of the spillway’s apron, a concrete lip perched at the top of the hill, threatening the integrity of the barrier.
Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea ordered an estimated 188,000 residents downstream along the Feather River to evacuate around 4:30 p.m. Sunday, when the possible breach in the spillway was detected. There was no plan for that evacuation order to be lifted, but Honea said officials were working on a “repopulation plan” for the residents.
“When it’s safe, based upon the evaluation by the Department of Water Resources and the state and federal partners, then we’ll be in a better position to decide when to lift that evacuation,” he said.
The Department of Water Resources began dropping large bags of rocks Monday afternoon via helicopters onto the eroded emergency spillway to divert water coming down the earthen hillside during future heavy rains and snowmelt. State officials did not give a timeline on how long it would take to shore up the scarred hillside.
Evacuees, meanwhile, anxiously cooled their heels in evacuation centers scattered throughout the area, without any sense of when they could return home.
Jaswinder Phagura, admitted she was “scared” as she stayed at the Sikh Temple emergency shelter in West Sacramento with family.
“How long will we be here?” said the 48-year-old Live Oak resident, who fled to the shelter with her 4-year-old daughter, sister-in-law and brother-in-law. “I hope when we go back that everything is OK there — pictures, our kids’ stuff.
“We just grabbed some stuff. It’s scary,” she said.
At the Cal Expo fairground in Sacramento, where families poured in throughout the evening, Treena Manion pointed out that many, like her, were losing income for every day they weren’t able to go to work back home — and that could quickly become a hardship. Still, she could understand the caution.
“Our lives are more important, and everything else can be replaced,” said the 43-year-old Marysville woman, who fled with her husband, daughter and five other relatives.
Among the others getting a hasty change of scenery: 579 inmates from Butte County Jail, who were evacuated in guarded buses 150 miles south to Alameda County’s Santa Rita Jail in Dublin.
Officials tried to assure evacuees that it was better to endure the inconvenience than to risk death beneath a roiling wall of water. .
“We don’t want people coming back into the community, then having another incident and having to evacuate again,” said Chris Orrock, spokesman for the water resources department. “Our No. 1 priority is the safety of the community and our staff.”
Complicating matters is a series of storms set to hit the area around Lake Oroville starting late Wednesday that will accelerate inflow into the reservoir.
“The area around Lake Oroville and mountains around Lake Oroville will see 1 to 2 inches with that storm,” said Tom Dang, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Sacramento.
That system will be followed by several more soaking storms through the weekend. Weekly rain totals could be as much as 8 inches in the mountains around Lake Oroville, Dang said.
Water continued to pour into Lake Oroville at 37,000 cubic feet per second on Monday while the lake level fell from 901 feet on Sunday to about 895 feet around noon Monday. Based on the current inflow and outflow, the Department of Water Resources said the reservoir is dropping at a rate of 8 feet per day.
It wasn’t clear if the next series of storms — or any rains or snowmelt that may follow — could push the water back up and over the emergency spillway.”
Governor Brown’s Monday Press Conference | Nearly a Full Week after the start of the crisis last Tuesday
– Jerry Brown sounds like someone that just got into office. He seems to know so little so he goes into his politician mode.
“We have a lot of stuff here, we have to depend on the professionals, the engineers, they tell us what we need and then we do it.”
– Apparently not, reports are that the spillway badly needed repair and the governor did nothing since for three years. Instead he went to Rome, championed fighting Global Warming and championed programs for illegal aliens.
In a rambling, disjointed press conference he held after nearly a week of major problems at the dam, he tried to put the best face on his ill-timed and ill-considered squabbles with Washington now that he was asking for help and money from DC.
“It’s very difficult,” he stammered, “uh, I don’t….it’s hard to understand how people have been able to evacuate so quickly….and it distubance…to their lives.” What?
Two hundred thousand people evacuated and displaced, no government assistance, and all he can say is trust the government that they all doing all they can, when clearly they didn’t when it really mattered.
The Governor is now mired in three serious crises on his part time watch: The deal to bury toxic, deadly nuclear waste on the beach in San Onofre, the nation’s largest gas leak at Porter Ranch which also has no end in sight and now this potentially catastrophic disaster of his own making. Perhaps the governor should have concentrated on critical state problems instead of trying to be a global climate statesman. /CJ
DONNELLY: Jerry Brown’s California Legacy is a Dam Failure
“The Oroville Dam — at 770 feet, America’s tallest — is on the verge of failing. And Sacramento, which has been fiddling for decades while Rome burns, is running for cover.
This isn’t just any dam; it’s the primary storage facility located on the Feather River for the State Water Project, the state-owned conveyance system that provides drinking water to more than two-thirds of California’s population.
If the dam were to fail, it could inundate not only the city of Oroville but numerous other communities downstream, including Yuba City, Marysville and even West Sacramento.
At the moment, the emergency spillway is being used for the first time since Governor Ronald Reagan approved its construction, and almost 200,000 people have been evacuated.
What’s Governor Jerry Brown doing?
The same thing he’s been doing for decades — obstructing progress. California has been so busy defying President Donald Trump in order to protect illegal aliens from deportation that it forgot to do the things government is supposed to do, like maintain infrastructure. Governor Brown is now going hat-in-hand to beg the Trump administration for emergency funds.
According to Breitbart News sources, the Trump administration is already closely monitoring the situation, and has dispatched personnel and made contingency plans to aid California in the event of a catastrophic dam failure.
But it’s during the seven dry years — the extended drought — that the state should have fixed its water infrastructure, like dams and canals. Brown and his merry band of Democrats had different priorities, like high-speed rail, benefits for illegal aliens, and unsustainable pensions.
The reality is that Sacramento was warned over and over again. Just a few years back, environmentalists raised concerns that an earthquake could degrade the massive earthen rockfill dam. Sacramento just chose to ignore those concerns — and to spend the money on other priorities.”
The Latest: Governor has no imminent plans to visit dam site
– San Jose Mercury News
Gov. Jerry Brown has not announced immediate plans to visit Oroville or meet with residents who have been evacuated.
Evacuations for at least 188,000 people living below the dam were ordered Sunday after officials warned the emergency spillway was in danger of failing and unleashing uncontrolled floodwaters on towns below.”
Verify: Was the Oroville spillway damaged in 2013?
“A photo of the Oroville Dam from 2013 that shows damage to the spillway and trucks on site is getting a lot of attention online — and not for good reasons.
“I put it out there not realizing how negative of a response, or kind of like an aggressive attack mode, was going to happen,” said Lois Cameron, who took the photo that October day. “It was more like information — not to accuse.”
“Maybe the Oroville Dam was cursed from the start.
In December 1964, three years into the massive barrier’s construction, a huge flood struck the northwest, killing dozens. The dam was nearly overtopped, which could have led to its failure even before it was completed. Instead, the partially completed dam helped prevent a larger disaster by reducing the flow of the Feather River. Less than a year later, two trains working on the site collided head-on in a tunnel near the dam, killing four men in a fiery crash and damaging the tunnel, slowing down work on the project.
The dam, which sits south of Chico and north of Sacramento, was eventually completed in 1968, creating the nation’s tallest dam. It forms the head of California’s massive, byzantine State Water Project (SWP). The SWP moves water from Northern California south toward Los Angeles, an average of 3 million acre-feet per year. A drop of water that starts at Lake Oroville, above the dam, takes 10 days to move all the way to the end of the system, south of Los Angeles.
There’s some bitter irony to the problem of too much water menacing the Golden State. California has suffered through a long and severe drought, at times driving Governor Jerry Brown to institute stringent—critics say draconian—water controls. This winter has seen much more snow and rain, which is good news for the parched state, but bad news for the Oroville Dam, where huge amounts of water are collecting. The lake rose 50 feet in a matter of days. Earlier in February, as operators let water over a concrete spillway to reduce the pressure, a crater appeared in the spillway. Faced with too much water in the lake, they continued to use the spillway anyway, and the damage got worse. On Friday, the crater was 45 feet deep, 300 feet wide, and 500 feet long.
In 2005, a trio of environmental groups filed a complaint with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, saying the emergency spillway was unsafe, The Mercury News reports. Their worry proved prophetic: The groups said in the event of heavy rain and flooding, the hillside would wash out and produce flooding downstream. They asked that the auxiliary spillway be paved with concrete, like the primary one. But the federal government rejected the request after consulting with the state and local agencies involved in the water system, which said they did not believe the upgrades were needed.
As for the primary spillway, the state did some repair work around the area of the collapse in 2013, CBS Sacramento reports. The last state inspection was in July 2015, but workers did not closely inspect the concrete, the Redding Record Searchlight notes, instead eyeing it from a distance and concluding it was safe. Officials say repairs should cost $100 million to $200 million, once it’s dry enough to begin them.’
Update Oroville Dam Overtops, Govt Still Refuses to Order Evacuation Preparations
– Youtube | Adapt 2030
Question: Where is the governor? The part time guv is again missing in action. Can we afford it?
This problem at Oroville has been unresolved since 2013 while the governor clearly had other priorities. /CJ
Threat of Oroville spillway collapse prompts evacuation of Marysville, Yuba, Butte and Sutter counties
– Sacramento Bee
“Chico evacuation center is full; additional shelter open at Neighborhood Church
Butte County announced at 7:40 p.m. that the Silver Dollar Fairgrounds evacuation center is full. Another shelter is available at the Neighborhood Church in Chico, 2801 Notre Dame Blvd.
Sacramento hotels filling with evacuees
Evacuees are reserving hotel rooms along Hwy. 99 and Interstate 5 in Sacramento near the airport. The Homewood Suites by Hilton started getting calls around 6 p.m., said Front Desk Agent Gao Hang. Twenty reservations were made within the hour in back-to-back phone calls.
“They didn’t care about the price at all because they just need a place to go,” she said. “It’s not just us.”
Two neighboring hotels are filling up as well, she said. The Homewood Suites is about 75 percent reserved so far.
Lake levels down, but risk remains
Oroville Lake depths are decreasing rapidly as officials release a huge amount of water from its main spillway.
Lake levels have fallen about one-half a foot in the last two hours and stand at 901.35 feet, about four-tenths of a foot above the level where water flows through the emergency spillway, state figures show.
At that pace, water should stop spilling over the emergency spillway within several hours, giving officials a chance to more fully assess erosion.
Falling depths do not mean the areas below the dam are safe. The emergency spillway is essentially part of the dam and the concern is that it will fail, something that could happen even if water stops flowing over its top.”