Congressman Dan Boren said Tuesday that he has asked representatives from the Grand River Dam Authority to publicly address residents of Miami - and he will make the same request of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
Boren made the announcement at his town hall stop in Miami, one of a dozen stops planned across the second district in August.
The congressman said he made the request to the Grand River Dam Authority's legal counsel Tuesday as he anticipated public questions regarding GRDA and Miami's flooding issues.
Boren said that Mike Keifner, GRDA attorney, visited with the congressman's district director and indicated that GRDA is willing to participate in a public meeting alongside the Corps and the City of Miami.
GRDA has previously sat down with officials from the Corps, the City of Miami and Ottawa County to discuss the operation of the Pensacola Dam and Miami's potential for flooding. Those meetings, however, were closed to the public and drew harsh criticism from area residents.
“I see no need for a private meeting,” Boren said. “It needs to be a public meeting with everyone so that any questions may be answered from the public. I, simply as my constituents' elected representative, want to make sure that happens.”
Boren suggested the meeting be held in Miami and include a mediator.
“I will probably not be at the meeting,” Boren said. “But, if we can facilitate a meeting with the constituents and the agencies involved, we will try to make that happen.”
The congressman said he would like the meeting take place as soon as possible in Miami.
“I think Miami is the appropriate place to hold the meeting,” Boren said.
Boren indicated that his decision to make contact with FERC was driven by Miami City Manager Michael Spurgeon.
Spurgeon said a meeting between the Corps, local officials and GRDA should include FERC - the federal agency that holds an oversight role over GRDA.
As of Tuesday evening, Spurgeon said he had not been contacted by GRDA to set up a public meeting. Spurgeon has previously extended the invitation for a public meeting with GRDA - with no success.