MIDLAND, Mich. – Michigan senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters toured the flooded region in Midland County on Saturday with U.S. Representative John Moolenaar and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Together the group assessed the damage from the historic flooding that occurred earlier this week. The Edenville Dam was breached Tuesday evening and eventually broke, triggering a flooding emergency that evacuated nearly 11,000 mid-Michigan residents.
From an aerial view the group surveyed the devastation to the region and its structures -- especially in the village of Sanford, which was hit the hardest by the floods.
During their visit, the group called for a full investigation into the conditions of Michigan’s Edenville and Sanford dams that broke, and encouraged more federal regulation of dams in general.
The owners of the Edenville and Sanford dams have been cited by federal regulators for safety issues since 2004.
“This is something that could have been prevented,” Peters said. “We had dams that were clearly weakened; folks knew that they could give in a very severe storm.”
The Local 4 Defenders discovered that federal officials revoked the hydro power generating license for the Edenville dam in 2018.
There are currently two class action lawsuits against the dam owners for their role in the region’s disastrous flooding.
“The destruction caused by these dam failures and catastrophic flooding was devastating to see -- and it is only worsened by the fact that we are in the middle of a pandemic,” Peters said. “But one thing was also clear: this community is tough, it is resilient and we will get through this together."
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer extended the state of emergency for Midland County to include three additional counties to ensure access to critical resources amid the flooding crisis.
MORE FLOOD COVERAGE:
- Shocking mid-Michigan flood pictures show ravaged roads, underwater houses, floating cars
- Tim Pamplin tours mid-Michigan flood damage: ‘Roof of a house. No idea where rest of the house is’
- More than 800 volunteers visit Midland to help flood victims despite pandemic
- Michigan National Guard aids residents impacted by Midland flooding while continuing COVID-19 response
- ‘2020 has been one blow after another’ -- Midland Farmers Market hit by flood day before reopening
- ‘Looked like Niagra Falls’ -- Dam that created Wixom Lake gives way, flooding mid-Michigan communities