Moolenaar, Dingell Release Joint Statement on FERC Decision to Fine Michigan Dam Operator $15 Million

April 16, 2021
Press Release

Today, Congressman John Moolenaar (R-MI) and Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (D-MI) released the following joint statement after the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) decision to fine Michigan dam operator Boyce Hydro $15 million after failing to abide by FERC operational safety orders: 

“Dam failures like this can never happen again,” said Reps. Moolenaar and Dingell. “That is why last week we reintroduced our National Dam and Hydropower Safety Act to enhance safety operation requirements nationwide, modernize existing infrastructure, and improve communications between FERC and the states. While FERC’s action today makes it clear to future potential violators they will face serious consequences, a fine that comes after the fact does very little for the people who had their homes and businesses washed away. It’s clear that FERC needs enhanced tools to address this problem, protect our communities, and hold reckless dam operators like Boyce Hydro truly accountable. Our legislation will help improve those tools and prevent these tragedies from happening in the future.” 

In May 2020, the Edenville Dam and Sanford Dam both failed and flooded Midland area communities after heavy rains. Dam operator Boyce Hydro had a long history of dam safety and compliance problems that likely resulted in the failure. In response, Dingell and Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) sent letters to FERC regarding its oversight and the state of Michigan to gather the facts on the dam breach, how the state evaluated the dam in the time since, and additional information on the regulatory and legal actions the state took following the revocation of the license. In June, the provisions of this bill were also included in the House-passed infrastructure package, and in September, they were including in the House-passed energy package. 

Last week, Moolenaar and Dingell reintroduced their National Dam and Hydropower Safety Act to make reforms and improvements to dam and hydropower safety operations and oversight in the U.S.