Michigan's top politicians provoked devastating dam burst to protect mussels

Hard to say all is going swimmingly for Michigan's three amigas who now reign supreme in the top state government.

Governor Whitmer and Attorney General Dana Nessel will have a lot of questions to answer about the horrific dam failure and flooding last week.  In a scathing story, online news source Bridge reports that freshwater "mussels" took priority over human safety.

Michigan regulators moved fast on dangerous dam.  To protect mussels.

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.

Residents impacted by the massive flood say they are dumbfounded by the state's priorities, especially since federal regulators had warned since at least 1993 the dam failed to meet safety requirements.

"How we got to the point where environmental issues trumped public safety, I don't know," said David Kepler, a resident who lives off nearby Sanford Lake and is president of the Four Lakes Task Force, an association largely consisting of waterfront property owners that was in the process of buying the Edenville Dam and three others before this week's flood.

As with most other blue-state governors, Whitmer has a host of mostly self-made problems.  Her draconian lockdown measures have devastated the state's economy, raised unemployment, and crushed the state budget.  While her lockdown laws are headed for a state supreme court test, school districts are left in limbo along with scores of small businesses wondering if they'll ever be allowed to open.

Worst of all is a mid-May poll by a Detroit television station showing an increase in voter approval of her handling of the China virus since April.

In Michigan, misery seems to love company.

Image: Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy University of Michigan via Flickr.