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California Lawmakers Fault Oversight Of Half-Century-Old Dam

CA - DWR / Twitter
 

CA - DWR / Twitter

(AP) - California lawmakers are faulting state officials for their oversight of the nation's tallest dam.

Legislators held a hearing Thursday on design problems and aging that may have contributed to both of the spillways washing away at Oroville Dam in February. Authorities ordered the evacuation of nearly 200,000 people for fear that water would pour out from behind the dam uncontrolled.

Investigations since then have pointed to problems including too-thin concrete on the spillways, tree roots that grew into the spillway drains, and spillway cracks.

Democratic California Assemblyman Jim Frazier, an engineer, calls the spillway issues "terrifying." Republican Assemblyman James Gallagher was one of the people downstream of the dam who evacuated, and calls for a change in a maintenance system that he says focuses on painting and patching cracks.

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