Environmentalists Intervene in Conowingo Dam Petition to U.S. Go - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Environmentalists Intervene in Conowingo Dam Petition to U.S. Government

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DARLINGTON, Md. - Exelon,the company that owns the Conowingo Dam, wants to renew its license to operate for the next 50 years, but Maryland says Exelon is at least partly responsible for the pollution that collects behind the Conowingo Dam, which routinely flows down into the Chesapeake Bay.

Exelon disagrees.

In 2014, the company filed to renew its Maryland license to operate the dam. But in February this year, Exelon sent a petition to the federal government, accusing Maryland of waiving its right to issue the license based on "prevailing law and significant delays" citing a case that would require a permit be issued within one year of their 2014 application. But environmentalists say pollution that collects and is then released from behind the Conowingo Dam is hurting the Chesapeake Bay. It's pollution in the form of nutrients, debris, and sediment environmentalists like Betsy Nicholas says spells doom for the Chesapeake Bay.

"It could be very serious," Nicholas said. "That's what we're really concerned about here - having the kind of catastrophic damage that will take us decades or longer to recover from. We believe Exelon needs to take responsibility for the share of that pollution."

Organizations, like Nicholas' Waterkeepers Chesapeake, are stepping in and intervening with court motions to ensure the dam"will not interfere with the use and enjoyment of the lower Susquehanna River or the Chesapeake Bay."

Still, Exelon says it isn't responsible for the pollution that comes from up north. The company adds it removed over 4,000 tons of debris from the Susquehanna River.

"Exelon shares the State of Maryland's and the region's commitment to restoring and sustaining the health of the Chesapeake Bay and we will continue to do our part," a company spokesperson said.

Other organizations have also intervened in Exelon's petition to the federal. The Clean Chesapeake Coalition, which represents many Eastern Shore local government, is also asking the government to stop Exelon from getting its license renewed.

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