Consumers Energy asks for public input on Michigan dam operations

Published: Aug. 9, 2022 at 12:21 PM EDT
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JACKSON, Mich. (WILX) - Before their license to operate 13 Michigan dams expires, Consumers Energy is asking for public opinions on what their future actions for these dams be.

Consumers Energy announced on Tuesday that they will gather public opinions about the 13 dams they own on five Michigan rivers. They said in a statement that this will help guide their decisions about the future of those facilities.

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Norm Kapala, vice president of generation operations at Consumers Energy, said they hope to perform due diligence before operation licenses for the dams expire in 12 years.

“We do not want to assume we know how individuals and communities feel about our dams as we develop plans to either continue investing in or remove any of our river hydro facilities,” said Kapala. “We are keenly aware dams have great significance for local communities and impact recreation for Michigan residents and visitors statewide. Public input will be an important component in our long-term strategic planning regarding the future of our dams.”

Consumer’s Energy hired a Lansing-based research and consulting firm, Public Sector Consultants (PSC) which has specialization in public engagement. With this partnership, they will develop an “adjacent property owner survey and conduct public meetings near each of Consumers Energy’s dams from August through October this year with the goal of collecting unbiased feedback regarding the facilities.”

Consumer’s said that anyone is welcome to attend the community meetings and that owners of property with the dams should receive a survey in the mail on the week of Aug. 15.

“The 30- to 40-year federal licenses to operate the dams Consumers Energy owns and operates on the Muskegon, Manistee, Grand, Kalamazoo and Au Sable rivers are set to expire beginning in 2034 through 2041,” said Consumer’s Energy.


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