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Gov. Brown Says He Was Unaware Of Flood Concerns

OROVILLE, Calif. (AP) – Gov. Jerry Brown says he wasn’t previously aware of a report that surfaced Monday indicating environmentalists raised concerns about the Oroville Dam emergency spillway in 2005.  He says he’s glad he found out about the report and adds that it was not part of previous records he had seen. The 2005 motion filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission shows three advocacy groups said using the emergency spillway would cause significant erosion. The groups warned of a failure of the dam itself that would threaten lives and property.  State officials said in 2008 no “significant concerns” about the spillway’s integrity had been raised in any government or independent review. The California Department of Water Resources says helicopters are dropping loads of rock on a hole at the lip of Oroville Dam’s emergency spillway.  Workers are hoisting giant white bags filled with rocks and at least two helicopters are flying them and releasing them in the spillway’s erosion. Dump trucks full of boulders also are on their way to dump their cargo on the damaged spillway.  The barrier at the nation’s tallest dam is being repaired a day after authorities ordered mass evacuations for everyone living below the lake out of concerns the spillway could fail and send a 30-foot wall of water roaring downstream. Representative Doug LaMalfa has joined Governor Jerry Brown and California’s U.S. senators in calling on President Donald Trump to approve a disaster declaration for the state in response to damage from recent storms.  Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris wrote in a letter Monday that the situation is especially dire downriver from Oroville Dam.  The senators are asking the president to provide $162.3 million in disaster assistance that California requested. The dam has operated under temporary licenses for a decade.  A spokeswoman for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission says a 50-year license expired in January 2007. The California Department of Water Resources, which operates the dam, applied for a new 50-year license in 2005. The federal agency finally received all the necessary permits and other documents needed to decide on the new license last December. Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea says repairs may need to be made before residents are allowed to go home.