Gretchen Whitmer’s Regime Sued to Keep Water Levels High in Months Leading Up to Michigan Dam Break
A lawsuit filed by the administration of Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer stopped water levels from being drained not too long before this week’s catastrophic flooding that has much of the city of Midland underwater.
Owners of the dam are blowing the whistle on the state’s Democrat leaders, noting that they were forced due to a lawsuit by Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel to maintain high water levels in Wixom Lake, which flooded the Midland area after a dam collapse. Nessel reportedly was worried about the affect draining the lake would have on the mussel population.
Boyce Hydro Power LLC released a statement explaining the situation after the administration attempted to throw them under the bus for the catastrophe that has displaced about 10,000 people in the mid-Michigan region.
Video of the dam failure can be seen here:
Boyce and the state were involved in dual lawsuits due to the water levels of Wixom Lake in April. The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) wanted to keep water levels high to protect fresh water mussels that are considered an endangered species.
Boyce explicitly requested permission from the EGLE to lower the water levels “due to concern for the safety of its operators and the downstream community.” EGLE along with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources denied the request. Boyce lowered the water levels anyway in November “believing its safety concerns were paramount.” They filed a lawsuit against the state on April 29 in federal court in an attempt to lower the water levels further.
Nessel filed a counter-lawsuit against Boyce arguing to keep the water levels higher because it could cause the “death of thousands, if not millions, of freshwater mussels.” This pressure from the state regulators ultimately led to the water levels in Wixom Lake being elevated, Boyce has argued.
“Defendants wrongfully exerted dominion over the freshwater mussels and caused their death, which denies and is inconsistent with the State’s rights to them,” the Michigan Attorney General’s Office wrote in their May 1 lawsuit to keep water levels high.
“The state agencies clearly care more about mussels living in the impoundment than they do about the people living downstream of the dams,” said Lee Mueller, a part owner of Boyce Hydro LLC, which owns the Edenville Dam.
In typical fashion, EGLE is denying all culpability in their behavior to push for the water levels to be raised.
“There has been some misinformation about what transpired between Boyce and the state,” said EGLE spokesperson Nick Assendelft. “The narrative by Boyce that somehow when the state was handed regulatory authority we pivoted from concerns about the infrastructure to concerns about clams is neither accurate nor fair.”
“Boyce Hydro’s desire to save money did not outweigh the natural resource damage an extended, winter drawdown would cause,” Assendelft added.
However, EGLE inspected the dam and claimed it had “fair structural condition” shortly after the feds revoked its license considering the dam unfit to generate power.
“There were no observed deficiencies that would be expected to cause immediate failure of the dam,” the 2018 state report said about the dam.
Whitmer and Nessel will of course try to deflect blame, but it is clear that their actions led to this nightmare that could result in an environmental disaster as well with Dow Chemical being headquartered in Midland.