Before the Edenville dam’s failure caused massive flooding throughout Midland County, Michigan’s attorney general said she filed a lawsuit against the dam’s owner, Boyce Hydro.
Dana Nessel said the lawsuit is because of damage that the dam caused to Wixom Lake’s ecosystem.
“Boyce Hydro and those that operate and own Boyce Hydro, have conducted massive malfeasance, over the course of not just months, not just years, but decades,” Nessel said.
Nessel said the lawsuit, filed on behalf of the Michigan Department of Environment, Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) and the Department of Natural Resources, never sought to raise water levels.
But instead to seek damages for what she said was in the past illegal lowering of the lake, which allegedly led to the killing of freshwater mussels, listed as an endangered species.
Nessel also said the state did not set the water level from Wixom Lake, but that it was established by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
However, the commission chose to revoke Boyce Hydro’s license in 2018 due to non-compliance issues.
“The operations of this facility, which for you know, had been up until that point for many years, supervised federally, it’s going to cause problems and that’s what we’ve seen in this set of circumstances, but the state had nothing to do with these operations, had nothing to do with the failure that we saw this past week, that ultimately caused the dam to breach,” Nessel said.
Nessel said the state has tried to work with Boyce Hydro in order to get them to comply with various orders, but she said they ran into the same issues the federal government had.
Now, she said she’s working to bring those responsible for the dam’s failure to justice.
“I can tell you that EGLE is doing everything they can and has done everything they can to hold these bad actors accountable,” Nessel said. “And they’re going to continue to do so, and the governor and I are going to fight for the very same thing.”