Press Statement: Hogan Administration’s Proposed Conowingo Dam Settlement with Exelon Flies in Face of Any Chesapeake Bay Lawsuit

Media Contact: Betsy Nicholas, Waterkeepers Chesapeake, (202) 423-0504
Ted Evgeniadis, Lower Susquehanna Riverkeeper, (609) 571-5278

(Takoma Park, MD and Harrisburg, PA) – Waterkeepers Chesapeake Executive Director Betsy Nicholas and Lower Susquehanna Riverkeeper Ted Evgeniadis released the following statements in response to Governor Hogan’s announcement that his Administration will sue Pennsylvania and the Environmental Protection Agency if they do not enforce the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL):

Statement from Betsy Nicholas:

We applaud Governor Hogan for supporting the Chesapeake Bay clean-up process. However, we cannot help but point out that the Hogan Administration has a powerful and binding tool to help the Chesapeake Bay sitting right in front of them – but it’s a tool they have decided not to use. Why is Governor Hogan willing to sue Pennsylvania and the EPA to enforce them to live up to their commitments – but happy to let Exelon, a private utility, off the hook?

The Hogan Administration had the opportunity to hold a multi-billion-dollar corporation — the most profitable utility company in the country — responsible for their share of the pollution in the Susquehanna River. Rather than doing that, he proposed a sweetheart deal with Exelon that holds them responsible for less than 1 percent of their pollution and waives all Clean Water Act requirements for the next 50 years, making Pennsylvania taxpayers responsible for cleaning up Exelon’s mess.

Maryland’s local, state, and federal representatives, conservation organizations, and affected communities upstream and downstream should strenuously object and voice their concerns to Governor Hogan before the FERC public comment on the MDE and Exelon settlement ends January 17th. Details are on our website.

Statement from Ted Evgeniadis:

The Hogan Administration has been using Pennsylvania and Conowingo Dam as a punching bag for years as we work to find solutions to restoring the Chesapeake Bay and local waterways – and find ways to reduce pollution upstream, in my state, in order to benefit the entire watershed. I’m glad Governor Hogan supports the multi-state Chesapeake Bay clean-up plan and is willing to take legal action to make it binding. But why would the Hogan Administration give Exelon – a private and profitable utility company – a pass on environmental remediation around the Conowingo Dam, while going after Pennsylvania? Why give a private company a break while expecting taxpayers to do more?

If the Hogan Administration really cares about the Chesapeake Bay clean-up, and wants to see more pollution reduced from Pennsylvania, they should take a good look at this proposed settlement and ask Exelon to do its share to clean up our waters and protect aquatic life in the Susquehanna and around the Dam.

You can read a fact sheet about Maryland and Exelon’s Conowingo Dam settlement here

Download press statement

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Waterkeepers Chesapeake is a coalition of eighteen independent Waterkeeper programs working to make the waters of the Chesapeake and Coastal Bay regions swimmable and fishable.

Lower Susquehanna Riverkeeper Association is dedicated to improving the ecological health of the Lower Susquehanna River Watershed and the Chesapeake Bay. Current and future citizens of the Lower Susquehanna River Watershed deserve high water quality, wise and sustainable use of all aquatic resources, and preservation of aesthetic value of our waterways. Improvement will come about through education, research, advocacy, and insistence upon compliance with the law.