Oregon’s dam safety regulations could be getting an overhaul, for the first time in nearly a century.
The Statesman Journal reports a bill pending in the Legislature would rewrite the laws governing construction, inspections and enforcement authority for hundreds of state-regulated dams.
The bill would increase the state’s power to force owners of aging, dangerous dams to do maintenance and make repairs. And it would require state approval and oversight of all new dam construction and removal of old dams.
At the same time, the proposal would give the state more leeway to help dam owners come up with fixes, rather than moving directly to enforcement.
Nearly 1,200 dams in Oregon are large enough to be subject to safety statutes.
The federal government regulates 237 of those. Oregon oversees safety at the remaining 953.
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