FEMA Rejects $306 Million for Oroville Dam Spillway Reconstruction

OROVILLE -- In the latest setback for the Department of Water Resources, FEMA has announced it will not be paying the $306 million requested to help fix part of the spillway at the Oroville Dam.

"Two separate independent engineering reviews indicated that a variety of problems existed at the dam prior to the February 2017 floods," the agency said in a statement.

FEMA said public assistance money can only fund work directly linked to the declared disaster.

Governor Gavin Newsom reacted to the news Friday by inferring President Donald Trump played a role in the decision.

"It's sad and unfortunate. I guess he's trying to express his opinion by basically belittling and demeaning the folks in the district that are directly impacted by those cuts that probably overwhelmingly supported him," Newsom said. "The great irony of this."

California's denied request was for work on the upper gate section of the spillway.

FEMA has already approved two other requests for the reconstruction of different portions of the spillway -- a total of $333 million.

"I'm pretty confident that there are no political cheap shots going on here," state Sen. Jim Nielsen, who represents the Oroville area, told FOX40.

Nielsen believes this was not a Trump decision, adding that he believes the DWR is to blame for its lack of maintenance in the decades proceeding the spillway crisis.

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