Boyce Hydro lawyer disputes assertions by state

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An attorney representing Boyce Hydro Power staunchly defended the company on Friday, in response to part of a news release issued by the Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) on Thursday.

Lawrence Kogan, of Kogan Law Group, represents Boyce Hydro, the owner of the Edenville and Sanford dams, which both failed after heavy rains in mid-May, leading to massive flooding in the region from the Tittabawassee River. Kogan told the Daily News that Boyce has not “refused to come to an agreement with the investigative team on a contract to perform its work,” as the release stated in its sixth paragraph.

“That is blatantly false,” Kogan said. “It has been an ongoing negotiation as to the cost of the contract and the availability of the funds and the amount of the deposit.

“Boyce has been on good terms with the investigative team on negotiating the contract terms,” Kogan continued. “Boyce is letting the investigative team do its work. Since Boyce has limited capital at the moment, they had undertaken negotiations to modify the original terms of payment in the agreement. That’s far different than refusal to come to an agreement.”

Boyce also owns the Secord Dam and the Smallwood Dam, which are both also on the Tittabawassee River and are both upstream from the Edenville Dam.

When given a chance to respond to Kogan’s comments, Nick Assendelft, EGLE Public Information Officer, reiterated on Friday that EGLE hopes Boyce will come to an agreement with the investigative team soon on a contract.

“We certainly hope they (Boyce) will take that responsibility seriously and be able to come to an agreement on a contract with the investigators,” Assendelft told the Daily News.

Kogan also refuted EGLE’s assertion in Thursday’s release that “Boyce has also ignored key deadlines to perform critical post-failure evaluations and work related to the portion of the Edenville Dam along the Tobacco River.”

“Boyce has already issued three dam safety reports prepared by its nationally-renowned dam safety engineers, TRC, none of which point to an urgent dam safety issue with the Edenville Dam,” Kogan said.

On the issue of the Edenville Dam, Assendelft maintained on Friday that Boyce has not done enough to improve conditions on the portion of the Edenville Dam along the Tobacco River.

“We certainly still feel there needs to be issues resolved in regard to the (portion of the) dam on the Tobacco River, and we don’t feel satisfied that Boyce is giving it the urgency that it needs,” Assendelft said.