Michigan Environment Watch
Michigan Environment Watch examines how public policy, industry, and other factors interact with the state’s trove of natural resources.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.’
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.
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.
Aerial views of flood waters in and around Midland underscore the environmental challenges facing the region following dam breaks and historic flooding this week.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Dow Chemical evacuates its Midland headquarters as dam breaches bring flooding to the complex’s containment ponds.
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.”
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.