Edenville Dam Update – June 2018
June 1, 2018. In November, 2017, FERC issued a Cease Generation Order for the Edenville Dam. Boyce Hydro Power, LLC (Boyce) filed an emergency appeal in the Federal Appeals Court for the Washington, D.C. District and later presented FERC with a request to allow continued generation over the winter, stating this was the only sure method of regulating lake levels during severe freezing weather. Boyce was allowed to temporarily re-commence power generation and continues generating power. Boyce has asked a Federal Court of Appeals for a hearing on the Cease Generation Order. We are not aware of a date set for this hearing.
Our last communication about the dam was notice that FERC (the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) issued to Boyce an Order Proposing Revocation Of License (Order), affecting the Edenville Dam. Boyce had 30 days to request a hearing on the Order, but did not do so. Instead, Boyce filed a Motion with FERC, requesting that FERC withdraw that Order. FERC has not yet ruled on the Motion, but submitted a list of questions for Boyce to answer by May 20. Boyce filed their answers on May 18, which are now under consideration by FERC.
We have researched FERC Orders Proposing Revocation Of License issued to other dam owners. This is an uncommon action for FERC to take and does not necessarily result in license revocation. As long as Boyce has a license to generate power at the Edenville Dam, FERC’s regulations of the dam and Wixom Lake water levels will continue as they have for the past 19+ years. If the Edenville Dam license is revoked, FERC oversight of the dam would end, electric power generation at the Edenville Dam would end and the State of Michigan would assume responsibility for dam safety regulation. We are making plans in case the license is revoked.
Representatives of Wixom Lake Association (WLA), Sanford Lake Preservation Association (SLPA) and Sanford Lake Association (SLA) met with the Michigan DNR, the Michigan DEQ and staff members from State Senator Jim Stamas' office to discuss the potential consequences of a loss of license. Following this meeting, the three Associations filed a letter with FERC requesting that FERC delay any action on Edenville Dam license revocation until Nov. 1, 2018. The purpose of the request is to give the Associations time to understand and prepare in case FERC revokes the license. Our request is supported by Gladwin and Midland County Commissioners, State Senator Jim Stamas, US Representative John Moolenaar and Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette. We anticipate our request for delay will be granted, and expect recreational opportunities on Wixom Lake during 2018 will NOT be affected.
Our goal is to preserve existing recreational usage of Wixom Lake for the people who use the lake and/or own property around it. The Associations are working with Gladwin and Midland Counties to enact a Michigan Lake Level Order for Wixom Lake. Hundreds of Michigan lakes have Lake Level Orders, including some lakes created by dams under FERC regulation. A Michigan Lake Level Order involves a County Circuit Court judge issuing an order to manage a lake at a specified water level(s). In the event Boyce's FERC license is lost, a Michigan Lake Level Order for Wixom Lake would immediately take effect and require the lake level to be managed at levels similar to those of the past 19+ years.
Watch for updates as the situation further develops.