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News Article | April 8, 2017
Site: scienceblogs.com

At the Center for Public Integrity, Talia Buford and Maryam Jameel investigate federal contractors that receive billions in public funds despite committing wage violations against their workers. In analyzing Department of Labor data on more than 1,100 egregious violators, the reporters found that federal agencies modified or granted contracts totaling $18 billion to 68 contractors with proven wage violations. The Department of Defense contracted with the most wage violators. Under Obama, labor officials had attempted to address the problem with the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces rule, which required those bidding for federal contracts to disclose labor violations and come into compliance with the law. Republican members of Congress and President Trump recently did away with the rule. When contractors don’t follow the law, workers like Latoya Williams feel the squeeze. As a senior customer service representative for a subcontractor to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Williams spends her days helping agents, homeowners and mortgage companies untangle the details of the National Flood Insurance Program. Most calls are routine, but sometimes distraught homeowners need help filing a claim. “You have to let people know that you care — like, you really care,” said Williams, who lives in Kensington, Maryland, and has worked at Lionel Henderson & Co. for six years. “Someone just lost their whole house underwater, [and] you want me to be on the phone just straight talking about policies? No. I want to know how you’re doing.” Williams can empathize with the callers: She was homeless for her first two years on the job, paying friends who let her stay with them. “I understand the struggle,” Williams said. “I understand what it is to lose everything, to not have somewhere to lay your head at night. I put myself [in their place] when they call.” Williams is paid $14.28 an hour by Lionel Henderson, a subcontractor until recently to Aon National Flood Services Inc., which has a contract with FEMA, worth up to $163.4 million, to administer the flood insurance program. Under prevailing-wage classifications in the Service Contract Act, she should be getting between $16.24 and $18.74 an hour, according to the Communications Workers of America, which filed a complaint with the Labor Department in December seeking back wages for Williams and her colleagues. To read the entire investigation, visit the Center for Public Integrity. Bloomberg: Peter Waldman investigates Alabama’s auto job boom, finding the “manufacturing renaissance” comes with deadly costs to workers. The article begins with Regina Elsea, who began working for auto parts supplier Ajin USA in 2016. Less than a year later, 20-year-old Elsea was impaled by machinery as she attempted to clear an obstruction. She and her co-workers had originally called for a repair team, but it didn’t show up quickly enough and workers were eager to make their daily quotas. According to OSHA, Elsea was never given the appropriate lockout gear and training needed to ensure a machine doesn’t start up during repairs. Waldman reports: “Parts suppliers in the American South compete for low-margin orders against suppliers in Mexico and Asia. They promise delivery schedules they can’t possibly meet and face ruinous penalties if they fall short. Employees work ungodly hours, six or seven days a week, for months on end. Pay is low, turnover is high, training is scant, and safety is an afterthought, usually after someone is badly hurt. Many of the same woes that typify work conditions at contract manufacturers across Asia now bedevil parts plants in the South.” St. Louis Post-Dispatch: The newspaper reports that OSHA has delayed the effective date for its new silica exposure standard by three months. The agency said the delay — the rule was supposed to go into effect on June 23 — is needed to conduct more outreach to industry. The silica rule is expected to protect the health of more than 2 million U.S. workers. In criticizing the delay, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said: “The labor movement has fought for decades to win this lifesaving rule, and any further delay is unacceptable. The longer the Trump administration delays, the more workers will suffer and die. This action alone will lead to an additional 160 worker deaths. We will do everything possible to make sure this commonsense rule is not taken away. Workers’ lives are at stake.” ProPublica: Sean Kevin Campbell investigates New York businesses that continue to receive public subsidies and tax breaks despite violating labor laws. The article reports that 74 companies in just one sector — farming, manufacturing and food distribution — received more than $100 million in state and local subsidies despite their histories of workplace violations. The article begins with the story of 24-year-old Craig Bernier, who bagged grain for Harbor Point Minerals in Utica. After a couple months of employment, Bernier was inside a silo when the animal feed collapsed and he suffocated in the grain. OSHA cited the company with 21 violations, including indifference to worker safety. Despite the incident, Harbor Point Minerals continued to receive state subsidies. Campbell writes: “A review of (New York) law and the practices of state and local economic development agencies found there’s nothing akin to a complete background check on subsidy recipients to determine whether they have a history of violating federal and state laws intended to protect workers, consumers and the environment.” Baltimore Sun: Michael Dresser reports that Maryland’s General Assembly has approved a bill giving paid sick leave to nearly 700,000 workers in the state, though Gov. Larry Hogan has threatened to veto the measure. The bill would require employers with 15 or more full-time workers to allow employees to earn a minimum of five days of sick leave per year. Dresser reports: “Del. Dereck Davis, chairman of the House committee that helped craft the bill, noted that lawmakers continue to receive their taxpayer-funded salaries when they are sick. The Prince George’s County Democrat told opponents (of sick leave) that if they’re feeling ill, they shouldn’t come to him asking for favors in scheduling so they can go home early.” At the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Sandra Chereb reports that this past week, a state Senate panel approved a paid sick leave bill aimed at employers with 50 or more workers. Kim Krisberg is a freelance public health writer living in Austin, Texas, and has been writing about public health for 15 years.


News Article | May 1, 2017
Site: www.businesswire.com

WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Homeland Security & Defense Business Council (Council) announced that four new companies joined its membership organization in the first quarter of 2017. The Council’s newest members, Blue Canopy Group, LLC; CACI International Inc; E3 Federal Solutions, LLC; and SureID, Inc.; all provide product, technology or service solutions to the government. “I am thrilled to add these four leading government contractors to our membership roster,” said Marc Pearl, President & CEO. “In addition to the Council’s robust first quarter, we are excited that our newest members have the opportunity to take advantage of all of the programs we have scheduled for the coming months. We look forward to adding the thought leadership perspectives of Blue Canopy, CACI, E3 Federal Solutions, and SureID into our initiatives.” The Council focuses on facilitating the vital exchange of ideas and perspectives between industry and government in the Homeland Security Enterprise. Since January, members of the Council have participated in numerous forums including roundtable discussions with leaders from U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Management Directorate, FBI, and Federal Emergency Management Agency; and presented at the DHS Reverse Industry Day III. The second-quarter programs will feature events with leadership from the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Congress; and two out-of-town Executive Tours at Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, FBI, Transportation Security Administration, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection facilities. Large, mid-tier, and small member companies lend their senior executives and subject matter experts to participate in the Council’s range of programs and Thought Leadership Committee (TLC). The Council’s TLC brings together the best and brightest thought leaders from its membership to engage with administration officials, congressional leaders, and other stakeholders in a manner that allows them to share ideas and lessons learned, and to offer insightful points of view on the most pressing issues our country faces in accomplishing the homeland security mission. The Homeland Security & Defense Business Council is a not-for-profit, non-partisan membership organization comprised of senior executives and their subject matter experts from the leading large, mid-tier, and small companies that provide homeland security technology, product, and service solutions to our nation. Our mission is to bring government officials and their executive-level counterparts from industry together so that we can jointly discuss the best ways to solve mission challenges. https://www.homelandcouncil.org/.


WASHINGTON, May 8, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- The application period for the 2017 Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Individual and Community Preparedness Awards is now open. The awards highlight innovative local practices and achievements by honoring individuals, organizations and...


"This new research tells us that Americans are aware that the public television system is an information source in crisis situations, which can be vital if other communication networks are taken down in a natural disaster or terror attack. Moreover, Americans see a growing safety role for the public television system – to educate children and underserved communities about responding to emergencies," McCoskey explained. America's public television stations are committed to three essential public service missions: education, public safety and civic leadership. As the last locally-controlled media in America, public television reaches nearly 97 percent of Americans. Public television stations are uniquely positioned to provide these services, not only on television but also in the classroom, online, as part of the emergency response network and in the community. "Public television stations are proud to partner with local law enforcement and first responder agencies to use the power of public television to ensure all Americans are safe," said Lonna Thompson, APTS executive vice president and chief operating officer. "Emergency management agencies can use public television's technology to communicate with one another and with the public during times of crisis. We are delighted that this new research shows the public's trust and value of public television's essential services, which they depend on every day." Public media has cultivated considerable expertise in public safety, emergency communications and spectrum management over the past decade, gaining a reputation as a trusted and reliable resource with federal agencies, commercial entities and the public. Public television and radio stations have created effective partnerships with state and local law enforcement and federal agencies like the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to communicate with the public in crises situations. In addition, public television stations have committed 1 Mbps of their spectrum data stream to support the new federal FirstNet public safety network built for first responders to improve communications coverage, reliability and redundancy, as well as to better serve rural and underserved communities. The public television station system will complement FirstNet by providing high-speed data broadcast services used for distribution of video, images, and blueprints in emergency situations. Both Vegas PBS and Houston Public Media are true pioneers in public safety. They have taken the decade-long promise of public safety datacasting and put it to work in their local communities. Vegas PBS has expanded and built partnerships with a wide variety of government entities to respond in emergency situations. The station also created a K-12 emergency data center that is regarded as the nation's most comprehensive school safety training, alerting and response system. Houston Public Media has created a powerful network of public safety and first responder organizations, including the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, that meets both high-profile security challenges like the recent Super Bowl and the everyday requirements of keeping millions of citizens of Houston safe. The new research findings will be discussed on Tuesday, April 25th as part of a National Association of Broadcasters panel on utilizing the public broadcast network for public safety. Moderated by Eagle Hill's John McCoskey, the session will feature Roger Stone Federal Emergency Management Agency Assistant Administrator, for National Continuity Programs; Lonna Thompson, America's Public Television Stations Executive Vice President, Chief Operations Officer & General Counsel; Tom Axtell, Vegas PBS General Manager; Lisa Trapani Shumate, Houston Public Media Associate Vice President and General Manager; and Dana Golub PBS Public Programs Senior Director. The research was conducted by Ipsos in April 2017 as an online survey of 1004 Americans. The results were weighted to reflect U.S. demographic factors, including age, income, the four national census regions, and gender. America's Public Television Stations is a nonprofit membership organization ensuring a strong and financially sound public television system and helping member stations provide essential public services in education, public safety and civic leadership to the American people. For more information, visit www.apts.org. Eagle Hill Consulting LLC is a woman-owned business that provides management consulting services in the areas of business strategy, organizational transformation, human capital transformation, process improvement, program management and change management. Eagle Hill works with a range of public, private and non-profit organizations. More information is available at www.eaglehillconsulting.com. To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/new-research-finds-strong-support-for-public-television-as-a-resource-for-educating-children--underserved-populations-about-responding-to-emergencies-300445127.html


"Police, Fire, EMS across the United States have been overwhelmed by overdose deaths, with PTSD a focus of the National No One Gets Left Behind Campaign," said Stephen M. Apatow of HRI:H-II OPSEC. Reaching a new peak in 2014, the New York Times reported 47,055 people, or the equivalent of about 125 Americans every day, died from drug overdoses, climbing at a much faster pace than other causes of death. The trend is now similar to that of the human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, epidemic in the late 1980s and early 1990s, said Robert Anderson, the CDC’s chief of mortality statistics. According to the "DEA Warning to Law Enforcement: Fentanyl and Carfentanil Exposure Kills," the largest risks for officers and detectives is coming in contact with fentanyl during the course of enforcement, such as a buy-walk, or buy-bust operation. Additionally, simply patting someone down, or searching their pockets, can put an officer at risk. The onset of adverse health effects, such as disorientation, coughing, sedation, respiratory distress or cardiac arrest is very rapid and profound, and can occur within seconds of exposure. Canines are also susceptible to immediate death from inhaling fentanyl. K-9 detection units are particularly at risk when sniffing potential contraband. According to DEA, Carfentanil is now on the streets, a synthetic opioid that is 10,000 times more potent than morphine and 100 times more potent than fentanyl, which itself is 50 times more potent than heroin. Redefining U.S. and Global Security Support: No One Gets Left Behind "Military member and emergency personnel; law enforcement and firefighters, et. al., and their plight with suicide do not get the appropriate level of attention - especially associated to PTSD, which resonates and impacts their lives over extended periods of time, and often leads to severe depression," said J. Mikulski, MSA. Humanitarian Resource Institute (HRI) and H-II OPSEC Expeditionary Operations focus on defense support for humanitarian and security emergencies, currently beyond the capabilities of governmental, UN, NGO and relief organizations. In 1994, HRI worked with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Emergency Food and Shelter National Board Program to develop a 3,100-county network to assist with education and coordination of unmet needs administrators, to help frontline service programs "bridge unmet needs to untapped resources." In 1999, this work expanded to the development of the International Disaster Information Network (IDIN), to connect leaders in 193 UN member countries, supporting education and remediation for the Year 2000 Conversion. Today, HRI:H-II OPSEC supports Intelligence: Defense: Interpol: Law Enforcement Counterterrorism Fusion Task Force level operations in 190 countries, through the International Disaster Information Network. — H-II OPSEC: Redefining a Global Security Support System: Spotlight in Journal of Special Operations Medicine: JSOM ABC's, 15 April 2013.


News Article | April 17, 2017
Site: co.newswire.com

" Leadership development begins with a support system, that helps all team members reach their potential, focusing on their gifts, talents and capabilities. The purpose is not exploitation, but functional benefit for the mission of the team. This requires a fine balance between the need for tunnel vision during execution of a mission and capabilities that support stability, health, happiness and prosperity in the bigger picture of life. Though paradoxical, the objective is a team of leaders."  -- Stephen M. Apatow. From "Living On The Edge" to being the "Cutting Edge" In 1994, a small nonprofit organization named Humanitarian Resource Institute (HRI), was formed in Carson City, Nevada.  The mission was to address the cross section of needs defined during two national touch outreach projects, the first for substance abuse in 1990, and second for hunger, homelessness and poverty in 1993.  HRI's first project was named Focus On America.  Through the assistance of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Emergency Food and Shelter National Board Program (EFSNBP), the mission was to take lessons learned, and "bridge unmet needs to untapped resources."   This project reached front-line programs and EFSNBP directors in over 3100 U.S. counties, all 50 states and territories.  In 1999, the successful completion of United States networks, led to the development the International Disaster Information Network (IDIN), to assist FEMA with remediation for the Year 2000 Conversion, and then complex emergencies in 193 UN member countries. Formation of the Humanitarian University Consortium in 2002, helped connect subject matter experts at colleges and universities, public, private and defense organizations in every UN member country.  Through this consortium initiative, the worlds top reference points in medicine, veterinary medicine and law helped HRI be a global reference point for health care, education, agricultural and economic development. Shortly thereafter, HRI was recognized as one of nine leading educational and research institutions by the National Academy of Sciences, with the Center for Nonproliferation Studies, Columbia University: Center for Public Health Preparedness, Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Humanitarian Resource Institute, Johns Hopkins University: Center for Civilian Biodefense Studies, Massachusetts Institute of Technology: Center for International Studies, National Academy of Sciences, University of Maryland: Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland,  University of Minnesota: Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy. -- See:  Biological Threats and Terrorism, Assessing the Science and Response Capabilities: Workshop Summary:  Forum on Emerging Infections, Board on Global Health. "Front Matter, " Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2002.   In 2009, HRI formed the United Nations Arts Initiative to promote "Arts Integration Into Education," connecting educators, artists and entertainment industry, who have the innovation, creativity and intimate connection with the grassroots level, to impact prioritized humanitarian emergencies and relief operations. The United Nations Arts Initiative helps both artist and grassroots leaders with strategic planning, critical analysis, expert think tank development for background discussions, peer reviewed data compilation and communications that engage decision makers and audiences in a target demographic. In 2011, H-II OPSEC Expeditionary Operations was developed to assist defense support for humanitarian and security emergencies, currently beyond the capabilities of governmental, UN, NGO and relief organizations. Though functioning outside of the mainstream spotlight for 23 years, Humanitarian Resource Institute has been the reference point for unconventional asymmetric strategic planning. Today, Stephen M. Apatow, President, Director of Research and Development for HRI, is focused on helping young leaders and executive leadership teams understand how to operate in complex environments and strategic areas viewed as critical to the CEO level of operations.  Lead from the Front: Development Programs help the CEO level break down walls and barriers, establishing a focus on optimization of the mission objective, through:


News Article | May 4, 2017
Site: www.decentralized-energy.com

An apartment block severely affected by Hurricane Sandy five years ago is to benefit from New York federal resiliency funding, part of which involves the installation of cogeneration power. The Village East Towers, a 434-unit Mitchell-Lama co-op at Avenue C and East 10th Street in Manhattan, resides in the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s “Super Flood Zone” suffered intensely from the storm in 2012. After compiling engineering studies to demonstrate the need for protection against future storms a grant of $9.95m has been provided by the Housing Development Corporation (HDC), according to Habitat magazine. As well as flood defences the funding will also provide for cogeneration on the garage roof, ensuring one elevator is maintained in each of the three buildings contained within the complex.. “If there’s a city power failure, the new cogen system will ensure an alternative source of energy so the buildings can function with a certain level of disruption, but in a manner that will enable people to be safe while they shelter in place,” says Jack Lepper, an attorney and Village East Towers shareholder. “That’s critical, and you have to thank the federal government...along with HDC and HPD, our management company and board, who all came together and worked to ensure our many senior citizens will be safe in future disasters.”


Saxton Law, PLLC attorney Randall R. Saxton has been appointed by Executive Director Lee Smithson and confirmed by the Attorney General of Mississippi as Attorney for the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency. MEMA coordinates activities that will save lives, protect property, and reduce suffering of Mississippi’s citizens and their communities impacted by disasters through a comprehensive and integrated program of disaster preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation initiatives. Director Smithson’s commitment is to make MEMA the most technologically advanced emergency management agency in the country. By leveraging technology, the goal is to save taxpayer dollars and increase efficiency in all of the Agency’s functions. His motto of “Preparing for Tomorrow’s Disasters Today” is the driving force behind working to protect all 2.9 million Mississippians. MEMA is funded by the state and also receives funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency through grants such as Emergency Management Performance Grants and Hazard Mitigation Grant Program. With these funds, MEMA provides financial support to local communities for recovery operations such as public assistance reimbursement for eligible programs and coordinating the state’s response to any type of natural or man-made emergency through the State Emergency Operations Center. Mr. Saxton founded Saxton Law, PLLC in 2013 and focuses his practice on bankruptcy, IRS tax installment agreements, business formation, and estate planning, including wills. He also serves as the JAG officer for the Mississippi State Guard and is on the Board of Directors of the Madison Chamber of Commerce. He is the Chairman of the Jackson Young Lawyers Association’s standing committee for mediation and is a member of the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division Committee on Bankruptcy. Saxton was selected by the Mississippi Business Journal as one of the state's Top 50 Business Leaders Under 40 and has been named by Portico magazine as one of the “Portico 10.” He has been rated in Martindale Hubbell’s Judicial Edition as “AV Preeminent” since 2016 and has also been named a Rising Star in Mid-South Super Lawyers®. Saxton completed his undergraduate and graduate degrees at Mississippi College, and he received his Doctor of Jurisprudence at Mississippi College School of Law.


News Article | March 1, 2017
Site: www.prweb.com

Toffler Associates, a leading future-focused consulting and advisory firm, has hired Caitlin Durkovich as a director. In her role, Durkovich will be responsible for contributing to the firm’s security and protection thought leadership and leading transformational initiatives with clients. “We’re delighted to welcome Caitlin to the team. She is a proven leader and visionary thinker whose expertise in critical infrastructure security and resilience complements that of our leadership team exceptionally well,” said CEO Deborah Westphal. “Her success with industry leaders in designing effective public-private partnerships aligns with a future-focused model of solving society’s toughest problems and positions us to capitalize on several growth opportunities.” Prior to joining Toffler Associates, Durkovich served as Assistant Secretary for Infrastructure Protection with the Department of Homeland Security, where she led the homeland security mission to protect critical infrastructure and redefined public-private risk management for emerging issues like complex mass attacks, electric grid security, cybersecurity, GPS resilience and climate adaptation planning. In directing the update and implementation of the National Infrastructure Protection Plan, which outlines how government and private sector participants in the critical infrastructure community work together, she engaged stakeholders from 16 critical infrastructure sectors, all 50 states and all levels of government and industry. Durkovich also led the effort to modernize the $250 million, 750-employee federal infrastructure protection program. Her eight-year tenure at the department, which included serving as Chief of Staff of the National Protection and Programs Directorate, allowed her to work on many critical initiatives within the interagency, including counterterrorism, cybersecurity, counter-IED, and space policy. Earlier in her career, as an associate at Booz Allen Hamilton, Durkovich led homeland-security related projects with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the U.S. Courts, and the Internal Revenue Service. Additionally, she was a pioneer in providing early warning cyber intelligence as a vice president at iDefense (since acquired by Verisign). “Toffler Associates has a long legacy of helping clients in both the public and private sectors understand, plan and adapt for success in an uncertain future,” said Durkovich. “They appreciate the complex operational challenges industry and government face and the criticality of a secure and resilient infrastructure in our increasingly interconnected and interdependent global economy. I look forward to contributing my expertise to help our clients anticipate future change and prosper as a result.” Durkovich holds a B.A. in public policy studies from the Terry Sanford Institute of Public Policy at Duke University and a certificate in business strategy from The Aspen Institute. She is the second woman to join the Toffler Associates leadership team this year. Last month, consulting industry veteran Maria Bothwell was named chief operating officer of the growing firm. Clients turn to Toffler Associates to capitalize on opportunities and mitigate the challenges of an uncertain future. We are a consulting and advisory firm that delivers strategic advantage to organizations around the globe with an unwavering commitment to being the catalyst for change. Both the public and private sectors rely on Toffler Associates’ unique perspective, disciplined approach and orthogonal thinking to architect better futures.


News Article | February 15, 2017
Site: news.yahoo.com

OROVILLE, Calif. (AP) — Nearly 200,000 Northern Californians who live downstream of the country's tallest dam were allowed to return home Tuesday after two nights of uncertainty, but they were warned they may have to again flee to higher ground on a moment's notice if hastily made repairs to the battered structure don't hold. The fixes could be put to their first test later this week with the first of a series of small storms forecast for the region. But the real test is still to come in the weeks ahead when a record amount of snowfall melts in nearby mountains. "There is the prospect that we could issue another evacuation order if the situation changes and the risk increases," Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea said Tuesday, telling residents they could return home but to remain vigilant. Residents living below the Oroville Dam were suddenly ordered to evacuate Sunday afternoon after water authorities had assured them for nearly a week that the dam was sound despite a gaping and growing hole found in the structure's main spillway. The order came after authorities feared an earthen emergency spillway used when the lake behind the dam overflows its capacity appeared ready to fail Sunday because of erosion. Over the weekend, the swollen lake spilled down the unpaved emergency spillway for nearly 40 hours, leaving it badly eroded. The problem occurred six days after engineers discovered a growing hole in the dam's main concrete spillway. State and federal officials ignored calls in 2005 from environmental groups to armor the earthen spillway in concrete to prevent erosion. Federal regulators concluded the earthen spillway could handle a large amount of overflow after water agencies that would have had to pay for the upgrade argued it was unnecessary. On Tuesday, U.S. Rep. John Garamendi, a Democrat who represents an area near Oroville, called the government's failure to coat the spillway in concrete "a classic case of woulda, coulda, shoulda." He said that if the state had listened to the 2005 warnings and installed the concrete a decade ago, "This problem would not have occurred. But they didn't, and there are probably multiple reasons why," with cost a crucial one. The California Department of Water Resources said the lake was ready to take on rain and melting snow. State water officials said they have drained enough of the lake behind Oroville Dam that the emergency spillway will not be needed to handle runoff from an approaching storm. Forecasts call for 2 inches to 4 inches of rain and snow in the foothills and mountains starting Wednesday night. But the storm was looking colder than initially projected, meaning less rain and less runoff than last week's storms. Acting department chief Bill Croyle said 40 trucks have dumped 30 tons of bags loaded with sand, concrete blocks and boulders every hour into the damaged areas, while helicopters have dropped bags of rocks and cement blocks onto the problem sites. The damaged main spillway has been stable for four days and handling a heavy flow of water, reducing the reservoir's water level by 15 feet in preparation for coming rain and melting snow throughout the spring. Officials hope to drain the lake another 37 feet. "We still have a large snowpack; we will see quite a spring runoff," Croyle said. Croyle said the goal is to keep the reservoir below capacity so the use of the auxiliary spillway wouldn't be used. Still, Croyle said that spillway has been repaired and that he's confident it could be used again if needed. Preliminary estimates say permanently fixing the hole in the main spillway could cost $100 million to $200 million, Croyle said. Experts are drawing up plans for repairs that will begin after the spring runoff season ends. Gov. Jerry Brown said late Tuesday that the Federal Emergency Management Agency approved his request for federal assistance with the Oroville dam situation. Meanwhile, federal regulators have told the dam's managers at the state water resources department that they must enlist a group of "independent consultants" both to assess what went wrong and how to make long-term fixes to the damaged spillways. Water resources officials have acknowlledged cracks and repairs in the concrete in recent years. It was not clear whether those past issues played a direct role in the spillway's rupture last week. When state inspectors last visited the dam in August, they wrote that "conditions appeared to be normal" in the concrete spillway, according to inspection reports the water resources department has released.

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