Lawsuit Filed Against DWR over Oroville Dam Records

Chico, CA. – AquAlliance filed a lawsuit in state court on June 6, 2017 against the California Department of Water Resources (“DWR”) over its failure to release records related to the Oroville Dam main and emergency spillways crisis that started in February 2017.

On April 19, 2017 AquAlliance filed a Public Records Act (“PRA”) request to DWR to release records that explicitly pertained to the asbestos. The asbestos was uncovered by the break in the main spillway and then further eroded by the massive water released at the main spillway that was necessary due to the near failure of the emergency spillway. AquAlliance has been concerned about the extent of the asbestos material and how it did or will affect workers, Oroville residents, and aquatic species. In response to the request, DWR released nine documents, none of which included any e-mail communication. When questioned further, DWR claimed that there are no more responsive records and that all responsive e-mails are protected under attorney-client privilege.

AquAlliance disagrees and is asking the court to enforce the PRA. “DWR’s culture is bound by secrecy to protect its image and its very slanted focus, which is to maximize water exports to its contractors,” expressed Barbara Vlamis, AquAlliance’s Executive Director. “AquAlliance strongly believes that the public’s right to know is essential in a democracy and legally enforceable1, something we are happy to take on,” she continued.

Additional Contacts: Paul Nicholas Boylan, Esq. (530) 400-1653.

Complaint: Click link to view the Complaint filed in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Sacramento — AQ3 – PWM_060617.

1 “The public’s right to access to information concerning the conduct of the people’s business is a fundamental and necessary right of every person in California.”(Government Code § 6250.)