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In A Change Of Heart, California To Get Federal Money After Costly Oroville Dam Repairs

OROVILLE (CBS13) — Three years ago this month, sheer panic ran through the community as the concrete began crumbling on the Oroville Dam Spillway. The damage just kept getting worse forcing roughly 188,000 people to evacuate. The emergency spillway in the Oroville Dam was in danger of failing and unleashing uncontrolled flood waters on towns below.

Three years and more than a billion dollars in repairs later, California is getting some of that money back. The Department of Water Resources says it received a response from the Federal Emergency Management Agency after its appeal on reimbursement for the spillways reconstruction work.

READ: California Will Pay $12M For Roads Damaged In Oroville Dam Crisis

The DWR is now hopeful FEMA will reimburse up to 75% of eligible project costs.

 "FEMA informed DWR that it believes the entire main spillway reconstruction and a portion of the emergency spillway reconstruction work is eligible for federal reimbursement. With this additional information, DWR estimates that approximately $750 million of the $1.1 billion in project costs is eligible for federal reimbursement. FEMA can reimburse up to 75 percent of eligible project costs. DWR is grateful to FEMA staff for their time, dedication continued support over the past three years."   -Erin Mellon, DWR Public Affairs

The state stays it will continue reviewing FEMA's response and decide the next steps regarding the remaining costs in the coming weeks.

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