Michigan Environment Watch

Articles

Michigan farm industry pushes back against state limits on manure spread

Michigan farm industry pushes back against state limits on manure spread

June 19, 2020 | Kelly House

A coalition of farmers and industry groups challenges the state’s attempt to rein in water pollution by limiting when and how manure from large animal farms can be spread as fertilizer on farmland.

Whitmer administration names outside team to probe Edenville dam failure

Whitmer administration names outside team to probe Edenville dam failure

June 18, 2020 | Kelly House, Mike Wilkinson

After criticism from experts and others who argued the state should not lead an investigation into what caused the dam failure that flooded mid-Michigan last month, the state announced an independent six-person team

As coasts flood, Michigan towns must choose what to save and what can wait

As coasts flood, Michigan towns must choose what to save and what can wait

June 17, 2020 | Kelly House

As Great Lakes waters threaten roads, beaches and treatment facilities, COVID-19 has created giant budget shortfalls. Local officials must make tough decisions about which problems to fix, and which to let fester. 

Corrected: Michigan knew of Edenville dam issues in August 2019

Corrected: Michigan knew of Edenville dam issues in August 2019

June 16, 2020 | Mike Wilkinson, Kelly House

The owner of the failed Edenville dam claimed it lacked money to make needed safety upgrades. Instead of demanding flood repairs, state lawyers played hardball on the cost of dead mussels.

Judge: Edenville Dam still poses ‘grave risk,’ needs immediate inspection

Judge: Edenville Dam still poses ‘grave risk,’ needs immediate inspection

June 16, 2020 | Kelly House

A U.S. District Court judge has ordered the Edenville Dam’s owner to report back by Friday with a plan to take “immediate action” if lingering damage to the dam’s Tobacco River side poses an ongoing risk to the public.

Crises collide: Flood recovery workers carried COVID-19 to Michigan

Crises collide: Flood recovery workers carried COVID-19 to Michigan

June 11, 2020 | Jonathan Oosting

19 workers who came to Michigan to work on flood recovery projects in the Midland region have tested positive for COVID-19 but subsequently left the state. Local health officials believe “one or two” of the workers were symptomatic before they came to Michigan.

Appeals court sides with Enbridge over Dana Nessel in Line 5 tunnel dispute

Appeals court sides with Enbridge over Dana Nessel in Line 5 tunnel dispute

June 11, 2020 | Kelly House

In a unanimous opinion issued Thursday, a three-judge panel rejected the Michigan Attorney General’s constitutional challenge to the Republican-passed 2018 law that made way for the Line 5 tunnel project.

Edenville Dam owner claims Michigan regulators to blame for flooding

Edenville Dam owner claims Michigan regulators to blame for flooding

June 10, 2020 | Mike Wilkinson

One day after Michigan sued the owners of the Edenville Dam for millions, Boyce Hydro claims in court papers the state repeatedly blocked permits for repairs that could have prevented massive flooding in mid-May.

Who pays Michigan utilities’ coronavirus costs: customers or investors?

Who pays Michigan utilities’ coronavirus costs: customers or investors?

June 10, 2020 | Tom Perkins

Commercial and industrial revenue fell for Michigan utilities when the COVID-19 lockdown closed factories and other businesses. Can they recoup their losses through rate hikes? Or should stockowners bear that burden? 

Neighbors of Edenville Dam don’t want state investigating its failure

Neighbors of Edenville Dam don’t want state investigating its failure

June 9, 2020 | Mike Wilkinson, Riley Beggin

The same day Michigan sued owners of troubled dams whose failures sparked a catastrophic flood in Midland, nearby property owners call for an independent investigation. The residents say the state is misstating facts about its failure to regulate the dams.

After Edenville Dam fail, five other Michigan dams may pose lethal danger

After Edenville Dam fail, five other Michigan dams may pose lethal danger

June 5, 2020 | Kelly House, Mike Wilkinson

Five state-regulated dams listed as high-hazard and in poor condition could kill people and cause widespread damage if they fail, according to the state. They are located throughout the state.

After devastating flood, Sanford Lake homeowners face new threat

After devastating flood, Sanford Lake homeowners face new threat

June 4, 2020 | Mike Wilkinson

More than two weeks after dam breaks and a flood, new woes have emerged in mid-Michigan where erosion threatens homes along the shoreline of Sanford Lake just northwest of Midland.

After Midland floods, a question: Where did waters carry toxic chemicals?

After Midland floods, a question: Where did waters carry toxic chemicals?

June 3, 2020 | Kelly House

Scientists and environmental activists say they’re hopeful recent floodwaters didn’t undo years of work to clean up dioxin contamination in the Tittabawassee River, but they’re awaiting sampling results to know for sure.

Line 5 tunnel’s future could hinge on a few words in 2018 law, court learns

Line 5 tunnel’s future could hinge on a few words in 2018 law, court learns

June 3, 2020 | Kelly House

The Michigan Court of Appeals to decide whether a law that paved the way for a planned tunnel in the Straits of Mackinac is constitutional, since words in its title didn’t match the text of the law.

Before and after satellite photos show damage wrought by mid-Michigan floods

Before and after satellite photos show damage wrought by mid-Michigan floods

June 2, 2020 | Mike Wilkinson

New satellite images, taken one year apart, contrast what Edenville and Sanford dams looked like before and after floods, as state and federal investigators investigate their failure.

Congress launches probe of Michigan, federal oversight of failed Midland dam

Congress launches probe of Michigan, federal oversight of failed Midland dam

June 2, 2020 | Riley Beggin

A U.S. House committee opens an investigation into last month’s failure of two Midland dams, one of which had been flagged for decades as unsafe by federal regulators.

How weak regulations failed to prevent catastrophe at notorious Midland dam

How weak regulations failed to prevent catastrophe at notorious Midland dam

May 31, 2020 | Kelly House, Riley Beggin

Regulators warned for 25 years that mid-Michigan dams were dangerous, yet their problems persisted. Dam safety experts say the failure to fix the dams is emblematic of the country’s broken regulatory system.

Michigan should have protected public from unsafe Edenville Dam, experts say

Michigan should have protected public from unsafe Edenville Dam, experts say

May 31, 2020 | Riley Beggin

Michigan officials say they needed to wait for a report before demanding repairs to a dam that federal authorities had already deemed dangerous. Experts disagree: ‘You have to take action, not wait.’

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer launches investigation into Midland dam failures

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer launches investigation into Midland dam failures

May 27, 2020 | Riley Beggin

The state launches investigation into the failures of the Edenville and Sanford dams in mid-Michigan last week, which prompted the evacuations of more than 10,000 residents. But critics say the state agency that oversaw the dam shouldn't investigate itself.

Two heirs bought Midland dams as a tax shelter. Tragedy followed.

Two heirs bought Midland dams as a tax shelter. Tragedy followed.

May 27, 2020 | Mike Wilkinson, Kelly House, Riley Beggin

Heirs to the fortune of the Boy Scouts founder — an architect and a bagpiper — purchased the Edenville Dam as an investment to avoid taxes, records show. For 14 years, the family trust clashed with government officials on taxes, regulations, fishing and other issues. Then came the rains.

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