Michigan Environment Watch

Articles

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.

Watch videos, see tweets of flood damage from Edenville Dam failure

Watch videos, see tweets of flood damage from Edenville Dam failure

May 20, 2020 | Kathryn Dugal

The failure of the Edenville Dam has forced the evacuation of 10,000 residents in mid-Michigan, some of whom are sharing their experiences on social media.

Mid-Michigan dam that failed was cited for years for safety violations

Mid-Michigan dam that failed was cited for years for safety violations

May 19, 2020 | Joel Kurth, Mike Wilkinson, Kelly House

The Edenville dam that catastrophically failed and prompted thousands of evacuations was cited repeatedly by federal authorities, who allege its owners had a “long history of noncompliance.”

As Great Lakes rise, less sand for Michigan beachgoers during coronavirus

As Great Lakes rise, less sand for Michigan beachgoers during coronavirus

May 14, 2020 | Kelly House

Record-breaking Great Lakes water levels already wreak havoc on Michigan’s coastline. Now, they’re creating a new problem: How to maintain social distance at beaches reduced to a sliver of sand?

Poop sleuths: MSU studies Detroit wastewater for next coronavirus outbreak

Poop sleuths: MSU studies Detroit wastewater for next coronavirus outbreak

May 11, 2020 | Kelly House

By analyzing the prevalence of COVID-19 in Detroit’s sewage, researchers hope to create an early warning system capable of detecting new outbreaks before patients start showing up at area hospitals.

Michigan to Enbridge: Line 5 tunnel permit application is incomplete

Michigan to Enbridge: Line 5 tunnel permit application is incomplete

May 6, 2020 | Kelly House

In a letter to the Canadian oil company, state officials said Enbridge must fix omissions in its application to build the Line 5 tunnel beneath the Straits of Mackinac before they can review the application.

Enbridge moves forward with Line 5 tunnel despite coronavirus lockdown

Enbridge moves forward with Line 5 tunnel despite coronavirus lockdown

April 22, 2020 | Kelly House

The energy giant has submitted a flurry of permit applications in its bid to replace the aging Line 5 oil and gas pipeline, sparking concerns from opponents who argue regulators should delay decisions until the coronavirus emergency ends.

Michigan safety regulators launch probe of TB outbreak at state DNR lab

Michigan safety regulators launch probe of TB outbreak at state DNR lab

April 15, 2020 | John Barnes

MiOSHA inspectors are reviewing whether faulty masks or other safety hazards were present at the wildlife lab, where five workers contracted bovine tuberculosis. The review was spurred by Bridge reporting on the outbreak.

Coronavirus shutdown not yet helping air in Michigan’s most toxic ZIP code

Coronavirus shutdown not yet helping air in Michigan’s most toxic ZIP code

April 1, 2020 | Kelly House

In heavily industrialized southwest Detroit, the governor’s stay-at-home order has not yet meant measurable improvement in air quality.

Five Michigan DNR workers contracted tuberculosis, likely from testing deer

Five Michigan DNR workers contracted tuberculosis, likely from testing deer

March 6, 2020 | John Barnes

Deer-to-human transmission of TB is an exceedingly rare, Michigan-centric phenomenon. Department of Natural Resources officials said they saw no reason to publicly announce the cases.

As Michigan battle rages on Line 5, Enbridge quietly buys land for tunnel

As Michigan battle rages on Line 5, Enbridge quietly buys land for tunnel

March 4, 2020 | Ted Roelofs

Enbridge Energy is spending millions for residential properties near Mackinaw City, apparently confident of winning lawsuits contesting a planned tunnel. Local residents say they welcome the revenue for schools and roads. 

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