Target: Robert J. Bentley, Governor of Alabama
Goal: Implement dam safety regulations in Alabama for emergencies and to prevent damage.
Alabama is the only state without a dam safety program, meaning its thousands of dams have no regulation, oversight or maintenance schedules. Officials site high costs and lack of necessity as reasons for neglecting to develop any procedures, since the structures do not often break. Dams have broken in the past though, yet the state’s outlook is that it will respond once a disaster occurs rather than take steps to prevent one in the first place.
There is no actual record of the dams and their conditions in Alabama. The Army Corp of Engineers has estimated that there are 2,271 dams and that 20 need to be rebuilt and over 50 are highly in need of repair. Just two percent are up to federal standards, and on an infrastructure report card issued by the American Society of Civil Engineers, the state received an “incomplete” due to its lack of data on dams.
Even California, which has 700 fewer dams than Alabama, has a $13 million budget for dam safety, which came in handy when a dam broke in Oroville and 200,000 people had to be evacuated due to damage and rising water levels. Alabama cannot continue to let its infrastructure crumble while the lives of its citizens are at stake. Please sign this petition to demand that the state implement regulations and safety plans for all dams.
Dear Governor Bentley,
It is disturbing that a state with thousands of dams that block water from homes and communities would not have a policy in place to take care of the structures. Dams are only made to last about 50 years, and most were built about that long ago. The disaster in Oroville, California where hundreds of thousands had to be evacuated should be a wake-up call to how important it is to have regulations in place.
It is estimated that only two percent of the dams in your state are up to federal regulations. That means no one is checking on the majority of the dams in Alabama to make sure that they are secure. I demand that you take steps to allocate money for a dam safety program as soon as possible.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Adrien Lamarre