Consumers Energy seeks public comment on 13 electric-generating dams

Myesha Johnson
The Detroit News

Consumers Energy is seeking public comment on 13 dams it operates on five Michigan rivers as it decides the future of the electric-generating facilities.

The 30- to 40-year federal licenses to operate those dams on the Muskegon, Manistee, Grand, Kalamazoo and Au Sable rivers are set to expire beginning in 2034 through 2041.

The energy provider hired Public Sector Consultants, a Lansing-based research and consulting firm, to develop a survey and conduct public meetings near each of Consumers Energy’s dams from August through October with the goal of collecting feedback regarding the facilities.

“We need to perform due diligence now as the licenses to operate our dams begin to expire in 12 years,"  Norm Kapala, the company's vice president of operations, said in a company release Tuesday. "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."

The public meetings to discuss the dams will include experts to help facilitate feedback about regulatory compliance, safety, community impacts, operating costs and environmental impacts for the dams. 

“We are keenly aware dams have great significance for local communities and impact recreation for Michigan residents and visitors statewide," Kapala said in the statement.

Meetings are open to all and owners with property near the dams should expect a survey in the mail next week. The meetings will start at 5:30 p.m. with an open house and the community forum will begin at 6 p.m.

Public meeting topics, dates and locations: 

♦ Hardy Dam: Aug. 24, Newaygo High School cafeteria, 360 S. Mill, Newaygo.

♦ Calkins Bridge Dam: Aug. 31, Allegan High School, 1560 M-40, Allegan.

♦ Croton Dam: Sept. 8, Newaygo High School cafeteria, 360 S. Mill, Newaygo.

♦ Webber Dam: Sept. 15, Lyons Township Hall, 105 Prairie, Lyons.

♦ Rogers Dam: Sept. 20, Mecosta Township Hall, 19729 11 Mile, Big Rapids.

♦ Mio Dam: Sept. 26, Mio AuSable High School auditorium, 1110 W. 8th, Mio.

♦ Foote Dam: Sept. 27, Oscoda High School auditorium, 3550 E. River, Oscoda.