FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
OROVILLE, Calif. (Feb. 24, 2017)—As more than 180,000 Californians displaced by the recent Oroville dam crisis head home with only tenuous assurances of their continued safety, we at the California National Party wish to express our hope that Californians will pull together in order to ensure their future safety.
Though the immediate threat of catastrophic flooding has passed, state officials warn returning residents to be ready to evacuate at a moment’s notice. The structural integrity of the dam’s spillway remains precarious. While seasonal rains generally begin to subside in March, authorities caution that the onslaught of snow melt from the Sierra Nevadas could also pose a renewed threat.
Management of these risks and their root causes, in particular securing proper funding to repair our state’s aging water infrastructure, should be a top priority with state law makers. According to a Butte County hazards-assessment report issued in May 2013, upwards of 8,700 people live in the inundation zone area. This area would likely be under water if the structural integrity of the dam or its spillway were ever fully breached. Hundreds of thousands more outside of the inundation zone would still be directly and significantly impacted.
More shocking still is a statement contained in a 2011 letter by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which oversees the safety of hydroelectric dams. In the letter the FERC acknowledges warnings from California state officials that local emergency services in the Oroville dam area would be strained beyond capacity, and that, “Absent significant advance warning, emergency responders instead would likely withdraw to safer ground and prepare for victims…”
At a time when our federal government prepares to allocate billions of our tax dollars to building border walls, the California National Party hopes instead to redirect those funds toward where they should be spent: improving our infrastructure to protect the lives and property of Californians—an action that would also create jobs and boost the economy.
The California National Party salutes the unyielding efforts of the federal disaster assessment teams and state agencies such as the California Department of Water Resources in response to this crisis. We especially wish to acknowledge the excellent work of preserving order and safety by our law enforcement and emergency responders.
We hope for the continued safety of area residents and proactive mitigation of the circumstances that caused this disastrous event. We remain confident that when Californians come together there is nothing we cannot overcome.
About the California National Party
The California National party is a grassroots political party that advocates Californian independence on a progressive platform designed to grow California’s economy, protect her people, and preserve her natural environment. You may read the party’s platform at http://californianational.party/platform