Watermen, Federal and State Lawmakers Call for New Conowingo Dam Settlement with Exelon

Maryland’s federal lawmakers and Maryland watermen have joined clean water advocates and Maryland state lawmakers to call on Maryland to not waive a Water Quality Certification for the Conowingo Dam federal license, as the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) has proposed to do in its recent settlement with Exelon. Maryland legislators are supporting a bipartisan emergency bill that would force Maryland’s withdraw from the proposed settlement currently under review by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). MDE waived its right to require the Water Quality Certification – and $172 million a year for pollution reductions – in the proposed settlement now awaiting Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approval.

On February 25, 2020, Maryland watermen sent a letter to Maryland legislators in support of this emergency legislation. Their letter said in part:

After high flows in the summer of 2018, many captains all around the bay indicated that their businesses ceased to operate due to sediment and nutrient loads coming from the Conowingo Dam. In addition, the amount of trash and debris coming over the dam kept many boats docked in 2018. Under this settlement, Exelon has claimed that they will not remove any more trash and debris than was removed in 2018. Conowingo Dam poses a direct threat for the sustained future of shellfish harvesting and fishing in the Upper and Middle Bay. Watermen of the Chesapeake Bay deserve more and Exelon must pay its fair share.

On February 26, 2020, U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen, Congressman Jamie Raskin, and Congressman John Sarbanes sent a letter to FERC asking them to give due consideration to the comments submitted by Waterkeepers Chesapeake and Lower Susquehanna Riverkeeper. These comments include a request for FERC to decline the settlement agreement with Exelon.

This is our only opportunity in the next 50 years to get meaningful pollution reductions at Conowingo Dam – we have to hold Exelon accountable for its fair share of the cleanup. To learn more about the importance of this emergency legislation, watch Lower Susquehanna Riverkeeper Ted Evgeniadis’ video and then take action using the form below: