State Can Seek Environmental Safeguards for Oroville Dam Beyond Federal Regulations, California Supreme Court Rules

The state Supreme Court allowed local governments and conservation groups Monday to ask the state for further safety measures and environmental safeguards at the Oroville Dam despite federal authority to license the facility, where a breach and spill forced 188,000 people to evacuate their homes in 2017.

The ruling will not interrupt operations at the nation’s tallest dam, a 770-foot structure on the Feather River in Butte County. But the 5-2 decision enables California water officials to conduct additional review, under state environmental laws, of the dam and other federally regulated water projects.