Exelon is seeking a 50-year license to operate the Conowingo Dam without having to comply with the pollution reductions called for by the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE); in fact, over the past year, Exelon has filed a series of legal challenges to avoid meeting its clean water requirements.
On October 29th, MDE and Exelon announced a settlement agreement made behind closed doors that falls far short of protecting Maryland’s waterways and requires the state to waive its authority to protect local water quality from impacts of dams, without any details on how the agreement will protect water quality. Affected communities and groups, including Waterkeepers Chesapeake and Lower Susquehanna Riverkeeper, were excluded from the discussions. The initial comment period to submit comments on this extremely flawed agreement was only 20 days but it has been extended to January 19, 2020.
We need your help! Please submit comments on this a settlement agreement that will govern the operation of the Conowingo Dam for the next 50 years.
There are two ways for you to take action:
1. Sign our petition, and we will submit your comments to the Federal Energy Regulatory (FERC).
The legal battles over this 50-year permit have been going on for several years. But even with these delays, it is not acceptable to have a state waive its enforcement authority based on a payment of money that provides no assurance of water quality improvement. Additionally, the public and interested parties like Waterkeepers Chesapeake and Lower Susquehanna Riverkeeper simply must have input into what will happen to the Susquehanna River and the Chesapeake Bay over the next 50 years. As it is now, virtually all of the substantive portions of the settlement will not be incorporated into the 50 year federal license agreement – which means there is no public input, scrutiny and, more importantly, no ability to enforce these provisions.
The Susquehanna River is a public resource and should not be sold off to a private company for exclusive use without ensuring that the impacts to the public and water quality have been properly mitigated. This is the law from the Federal Power Act enacted by Teddy Rosevelt and remains the law today.