Corps Withholds Dam Inventory Data

July 3, 2008

The Army Corps of Engineers is refusing access to the National Inventory of Dams, a database that it had published online for years, according to the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.

The inventory of some 79,000 U.S. dams is key for public evaluation of how well federal, state, and local governments are performing the job of protecting the public from dam failures.

The Des Moines Register had sought the database from IRE after this spring's spate of floods. Historically, the group Investigative Reporters and Editors has acquired the database from the Corps every year and made it available to journalists. In recent years, however, the Corps has denied FOIA requests from IRE for the information and has stopped publishing the complete database on its Web site.