State Sen. Jim Nielsen vexed by bad communication at dam crisis

State Sen. Jim Nielsen is troubled that residents below a damaged California dam knew little about potential risk until ordered to evacuate when a spillway began breaking up.

The republican senator says communication from state managers during the February crisis at Oroville Dam was confusing to the public. Sen. Nielsen's district includes the Oroville Dam and its damaged spillway.

On Feb. 7, a massive crack opened in the main spillway at the dam. For days, managers assured the public there was no imminent danger as they slowed releases of water to assess the damage.

Then, a backup spillway started falling apart, triggering the evacuation order for nearly 200,000 people.

An Associated Press review found officials made a series of questionable decisions and missteps before and during the crisis.

Nielsen represents thousands of residents who were evacuated and says the confusing communication in the days leading to the evacuation will be one issue discussed during a Senate hearing on the crisis this month.

He says "there must be some accountability."

© 2017 KXTV-TV


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