We are pleased to see this interim report from the forensic investigation team. The five-member independent forensic team (IFT) is investigating the failures and the physical and human factors that contributed to the cause of the Edenville Dam and Sanford Dam failures. In this interim report, the IFT’s findings to date on the physical mechanisms are presented in only summary form, with all the detailed evidence being compiled and presented in the IFT’s final report to be issued in the next several months.
The FLTF Restoration Plan identifies four critical issues that could impact our ability to restore the lakes. One is to have support from and collaboration with the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) on the Environmental Restoration Plan.
In a letter dated June 29, 2021, EGLE Director Liesl Clark thanked FLTF for its cooperative engagement with the Agency and affirmed its support of our path forward.
Letter to EPA and FERC Seeks Help to Rebuild
In a bipartisan show of support, U.S. senators and members of Congress from Michigan asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to assist the State of Michigan and our communities in recovering from the dam failures of May 2020.
Action Applies to Secord, Smallwood and Sanford Dams
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which has had regulatory jurisdiction over Secord, Smallwood and Sanford dams, released its authority to the State of Michigan on May 20, 2021 through a process known as implied surrender. FERC previously revoked the license of Edenville Dam in September 2018.
Significant Funding Expected for Four Lakes Communities
Legislation will be introduced today in the Michigan House and Senate that would allocate $500 million in funding to make dam repairs and improvements an even bigger priority in the state. The measure includes significant funding for restoration of the Four Lakes and dams.
The four lake communities have a choice when it comes to recovery and restoration efforts. Removing the dams would require a decades-long program to manage public safety while removing the dams, with all necessary permits, and an environmental restoration plan. Our preliminary engineering estimates predict that this effort would cost $125 million. This path forward has no funding source and no one is championing this effort.
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