Former Edenville Dam owner liable for $120 million in environmental damages
The owner of the Midland Dams that collapsed in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic is liable for nearly $120 million in damages to the state, a federal judge ruled this week.
The ruling comes after the Edenville Dam failed in May 2020, resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars worth of damages and the evacuation of around 11,000 Midland residents.
Judge Paul Maloney said in the ruling that Lee Mueller, the owner of the dam, violated Michigan's Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act by ignoring crucial weakness in the dam that ultimately led to his failure.
The $120 million awarded to the state was for natural resource damage to Michigan's fisheries and freshwater mussels. The funds are not for individual homeowner or business damage.
"I want to thank Attorney General Nessel for leading this years-long effort to bring justice on behalf of the thousands of Michiganders who’ve suffered in the aftermath of the dam failure," Governor Gretchen Whitmer said in a statement. "In tough times, we come together as Michiganders to support each other."
An attorney for Mueller did not respond to a request for comment.