This Week, House Will Consider Dingell Dam Safety Measures as Part of Comprehensive Energy Package
Dingell Provisions Improve Federal Oversight, State Cooperation, and Emphasize Existing Laws to Ensure Safe Dam and Hydropower Projects
Washington, September 22, 2020
WASHINGTON, DC – This week, the House of Representatives will consider legislation that makes long-overdue reforms to U.S. energy policy and includes provisions led by Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (D-MI) to improve dam and hydropower safety operations and oversight. Dingell pushed for the provisions after the breach of the Edenville Dam and Sanford Dam failures in Michigan caused extensive damage throughout the region’s downstream communities that drowned homes, businesses, and whole cities.
Dingell’s provisions enhance dam and hydropower safety operation requirements and aims to modernize existing infrastructure through the development of new best practices and improved communications between FERC and states.
“The breach of the Edenville Dam and Sanford Dam failures in Michigan caused extensive damage in Michigan and its downstream communities. It drowned homes, businesses, and whole cities,” said Dingell. “It is clear there are serious gaps in existing laws that need to be addressed. This can never happen again in any city in America with a high hazard dam. A pillar of modernizing our energy system must be protecting Americans and preventing disasters.”
The Edenville dam and its operator, Boyce Hydro, had a long history of dam safety and compliance problems. 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, these provisions were also included in the House-passed infrastructure package.