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What Is The Next Shoe To Drop?

Posted on | May 27, 2020 | 1 Comment

Edenville Dam Breach

Mike Magee

As Americans haltingly reemerge through the smoldering embers of the Covid-19 blaze, many wonder, “What will be the next shoe to drop?”

Most realize this crisis is far from over. Erratic leadership at the top will be with us at least until the November election. And even with a successful defeat of President Trump, the virus will likely give as good as it gets for at least another 12 to 18 months until a vaccine appears. Economic hardship and displacement will take years more to resolve.

But even now, we are forced to remind ourselves that there are other threats and concerns that demand our attention. To begin with, infectious diseases are only half of our dual disease burden. Chronic diseases from cardiovascular to neurodegenerative to cancer and beyond have not suddenly disappeared. They remain in force, demanding our attention, and taxing our broken health delivery system.

The same kind of misguided policies that created our health care system have also spawned other vulnerabilities. Take for example the recent drama in Sanford, Michigan. On May 21, 2020, the century-old Edenville Dam, stressed by nearly 4 inches of rain, gave way, but not without warning. It was one of over 2000 dams that were deemed by the Association of State Dam Safety Officers to earn an “F”- high-safety threat rating. (95,000 dams earned a slightly better D.)

Global warming has clearly played a role. The last four years have been among the 15 wettest in Michigan’s recorded history. 75% of the earthen dams in the U.S. are privately owned and have an average age of 56 years. They were mostly built to drive mills and generate modest amounts of electricity. Today, most generate no revenue, and repairs go unfunded.

In the case of the Edenville Dam, it is owned by Boyce Hydro Power whose license was revoked by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in 2018 for failure to make necessary repairs the company says would have cost 8 million dollars. They say that residential home-owners on the lake created behind the dam share the blame. They went to court to block the company from protectively lowering the lake level for extra security against sudden downpour. They thought it would ruin the view. Those same lakeside residents now look out on a mudflat.

Dams are emblematic of a wide range of neglected infrastructure problems that demand “good government” responses rather than “a thousand points of light” or “beautiful walls.”

In so many ways, the rent has come due. What all Americans need to realize is that a decisive rejection of this administration in November is only the first step. As important will be what follows – the establishment of “good government” driven by national policy that can efficiently deliver strategic planning, prioritization, budgeting, and execution on a national and equitable scale.

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One Response to “What Is The Next Shoe To Drop?”

  1. What Is The Next Shoe To Drop? – Health Article – Health & Wellness Blog
    July 20th, 2020 @ 2:55 am

    […] This is only a snippet of a Health Article written by Mike Magee Read Full Article […]

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