Reasons for Exemption
The FOCP qualifies for a Statutory Exemption for specific actions necessary to prevent or mitigate an emergency under Pub. Res. Code§ 21080(b)(4) and CEQA Guidelines §15269(c). CEQA (Pub. Res. Code§ 21060.3) defines an "emergency" as a sudden, unexpected occurrence, involving a clear and imminent danger, demanding immediate action to prevent or mitigate loss of, or damage to, life, health, property, or essential public services. Dam failure leading to catastrophic flooding would be a "sudden unexpected occurrence" were it to occur. FERC's dam safety order clearly reflects a regulatory determination that seismic risks associated with Anderson Dam and the existing outlet constitute an emergency situation that requires immediate action by Valley Water. Immediate action to prevent flood damage is required because, as recognized by FERG and confirmed by Valley Water studies, the magnitude of the risk of catastrophic dam failure to downstream life is extreme. Each of the FOCP components is necessary for an integrated emergency response to the FERC Order, both to mitigate the potential for a catastrophic dam failure, and to avoid and minimize environmental, flood management, groundwater recharge, and water supply impacts of such emergency response actions.