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McCarthy Commends FEMA Making $307.8M Award for Repairs at Oroville Dam

Jan 29, 2021
Press Release


Today, Congressman Kevin McCarthy responded to a recent award by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to the State of California. FEMA is providing $307.8 million to California in reimbursement funding for repair work to the gated spillway at Oroville Dam and to relocate power transmission lines consistent with the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act. 

The FEMA decision follows a successful appeal submitted by the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services that was supported by Congressman Kevin McCarthy, Congressman Ken Calvert (CA-42), and U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein. With this award, FEMA has provided the State of California over $530 million to date for repair work to the Oroville Dam spillways and complex following the 2017 storm event.

Congressman McCarthy issued the below statement:

“With yesterday’s announcement, FEMA has provided over $530 million in federal funding to the State of California for repairs made to the spillways and complex at Oroville Dam following the February 2017 storm event that damaged those features. Receiving this additional $307.8 million is the result of a successful appeal, which I strongly supported, submitted by Governor Brown to FEMA to secure these funds following a Major Disaster Declaration issued by President Trump that made repair work at Oroville Dam eligible for Federal disaster funding. These funds help the State of California and State Water Project (SWP) contractors defray the costs of repairs at Oroville Dam that would otherwise have been passed on to the families, farms, and businesses that receive water from the SWP. As we move into 2021, I hope the bipartisan work on Oroville Dam repair funding can set an example for Republicans and Democrats to work together on important California water issues.”

Background:

  • In February 2017, a storm event required the California Department of Water Resources to release water from Lake Oroville through both Oroville Dam’s gated and emergency spillways resulting in significant damage to both structures.
  • Following the storm event, President Trump declared a Major Disaster making Oroville Dam repair work eligible for Federal Stafford Act disaster assistance funding.
  • Subsequently, the State of California submitted a request to FEMA for reimbursement of repair work at Oroville Dam consistent with federal law. This request was supported by Congressman McCarthy and Congressman Calvert. You can view the letter here.
  • Following a denial by FEMA for Stafford Act funding for certain repair work to the spillways, the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Service submitted an appeal to FEMA. This appeal was supported by a bipartisan group of Members of Congress led by Congressman McCarthy. You can view the support letters here and here
  • Lake Oroville is the second largest reservoir in California and is the primary water source for families, farms, and communities on the State Water Project.  
  • The California Department of Water Resources, funded through financial agreements with local public water agencies, is responsible for maintaining, operating, and repairing Oroville Dam.
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