Michigan Environment Watch

Articles

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.

See Dow Chemical ponds, dioxin cleanup site after Michigan flooding

See Dow Chemical ponds, dioxin cleanup site after Michigan flooding

May 23, 2020 | Kelly House

Aerial views of flood waters in and around Midland underscore the environmental challenges facing the region following dam breaks and historic flooding this week. 

As Midland flooding recedes, a flood of class-action lawsuits begins

As Midland flooding recedes, a flood of class-action lawsuits begins

May 22, 2020 | David Zeman

At least two cases have been filed in federal court seeking to hold the owners of two mid-Michigan dams responsible for catastrophic flooding this week.

Dana Nessel and Enbridge argue Line 5 pipeline shutdown to Michigan judge

Dana Nessel and Enbridge argue Line 5 pipeline shutdown to Michigan judge

May 22, 2020 | Kelly House

In arguments to an Ingham County judge, lawyers for the attorney general say the pipeline easement below the Straits of Mackinac should never have been granted. Enbridge says the question was settled decades ago by the Legislature.  

Michigan GOP calls for Nessel to step down from investigation into dam failure

Michigan GOP calls for Nessel to step down from investigation into dam failure

May 22, 2020 | Riley Beggin

Republicans say Michigan’s attorney general has a conflict of interest because she recently sued the owner of a failed dam over illegally drawing down water from Wixom Lake in 2018 and 2019, killing mussels.

Michigan regulators moved fast on dangerous dam. To protect mussels.

Michigan regulators moved fast on dangerous dam. To protect mussels.

May 21, 2020 | Mike Wilkinson, Kelly House, Robin Erb, Riley Beggin

In court papers, the owners of a dam that failed this week near Midland acknowledged it was considered unsafe for decades. But Michigan’s only action against the dam was a suit contending it lowered water and killed freshwater mussels.

Midland flooding highlights Michigan’s aging stockpile of neglected dams

Midland flooding highlights Michigan’s aging stockpile of neglected dams

May 20, 2020 | Paula Gardner, Meghanlata Gupta

The state’s 2,581 dams, many aging and in need of repair, get little attention from legislators, but their maintenance and costs raise concerns, particularly as water levels rise in Michigan.

As floodwaters bear down on Dow Chemical, worries about water toxins

As floodwaters bear down on Dow Chemical, worries about water toxins

May 20, 2020 | Robin Erb, Kelly House

Dow Chemical evacuates its Midland headquarters as dam breaches bring flooding to the complex’s containment ponds.

Feds revoked dam’s license over safety issues. Then Michigan deemed it safe.

Feds revoked dam’s license over safety issues. Then Michigan deemed it safe.

May 20, 2020 | Riley Beggin, Mike Wilkinson, Kelly House

For a decade, safety regulators demanded improvements to a 95-year-old dam that failed this week. The repairs never came, and Michigan regulators deemed the dam in “fair condition.” One critic calls it a “catastrophic failure both of the dam and of our government at all levels.”

Michigan steps up to help residents evacuated by dam break

Michigan steps up to help residents evacuated by dam break

May 20, 2020 | Kathryn Dugal

Hundreds are rushing to help those in Midland County evacuated by breaches of the Edenville and Sanford dams. “There are sources of inspiration,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said Wednesday of volunteer efforts.

Pages