Ignoring Warnings, Mich. AG Sued to RAISE Lake Level Ahead of Dam Break—to Protect Mussels

AP Photo/Carlos Osorio

In her ongoing audition to be Joe Biden’s veep pick, Michigan Governess Gretchen Whitmer all but convicted a private dam owner for the disastrous floods that struck the middle of the state last Wednesday.


However, it wasn’t the dam company that was trying to save a few clams—it was Whitmer’s radical attorney general, Dana Nessel.

Nessel was suing the dam company to raise the lake level three feet in order to save mussels—both endangered and common—and in their response, the dam company cited safety as a reason for not doing so.

But to Dana Nessel, who is also suing to keep Michigan’s chilly Upper Peninsula from having a reliable source of propane, citing an imaginary concern over a pipeline across the Straits of Mackinac, people come second. A distant second.

As Michigan-based Bridge Magazine reports:

For decades, federal regulators demanded changes to the design of the Edenville Dam to make it more likely to withstand heavy rains and avoid flooding.

So when Michigan regulators assumed oversight of the dam in late 2018 after its owners lost their federal license to generate energy, they took action.

To protect mussels.

Three weeks before the 96-year-old dam failed this week amid heavy rains and caused the worst flood in Midland history, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel sued its owner, alleging it illegally lowered Wixom Lake in 2018 and 2019, killing “thousands if not millions, of freshwater mussels.”

“Defendants wrongfully exerted dominion over the freshwater mussels and caused their death which denies and is inconsistent with the state’s right to them,” state lawyers wrote in an April lawsuit.


“Exerted dominion”? Who are they suing, Adam? Eve? Wrong Eden, Dana.

Well, now they might need to enlist Noah.

The genesis of this dispute is complex, going back to the 1920s when private utilities were more common and the dams along the four manmade lakes in the Tittabawassee River were used as a primary power-generation source for the community.  Friends with property there tell me there has been plenty of tension between the dam owner and residents since at least the 1990s.

But there is no denying certain basic facts—and another example of the priorities of environmentalists when it comes to human life.

Again from Bridge Magazine’s excellent report:

The dam’s owner, Boyce Hydro Power LLC, claims Michigan pressured it to raise lake levels before the flood and the company took steps to lower them because “mis-operation could pose a significant risk to the Village of Sanford, Northwood University, the City of Midland, and other downstream areas,” according to a lawsuit last month.

Of course, none of this made the Governess’s press conference, in which she solely damned the owners. At her briefing near a school where evacuated residents were sheltering, she declared she would take “every legal recourse we have” to “hold people responsible.”

The dam owners were singled out; her Attorney General was not.


And not letting this crisis go to waste, the governor, known for having perhaps the least respect for private property of any in the country, added this agenda item: “We can talk about the merits of whether or not private companies should own critical infrastructure or not — I don’t think that they should — but that’s what we’re dealing with here.”

This is not the first time that Attorney General Dana Nessel’s priorities—and propriety—have come into question.  At the height of Michigan’s COVID-19 lockdown, she treated the state to this insightful tweet:

Maybe Dana just needs to learn when to clam up.

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