The group American Rivers warns that the Conowingo’s capacity for trapping those materials is exhausted. The 88-year-old dam, owned by Chicago-based Exelon, sits about 10 miles north of the Susquehanna’s mouth to the Chesapeake.Of course, Exelon has next to nothing to do with this crisis. The pollution that washed down the Susquehanna is beyond their control, and the sediment behind the dam had accumulated there before Exelon even bought the dam. Without the dam, the pollution and sediment would enter the Bay without impediment anyway. That damn dam gave us almost 100 year of respite from the problem.
State leaders joined the group in raising concerns about the dam and its impact on the health of the river and bay. They are calling on the U.S. Senate to reject legislation they say would allow Exelon to avoid complying with state water quality standards.
Ben H. Grumbles and Mark J. Belton, the state’s secretaries of the environment and natural resources, respectively, spoke in support of American Rivers on Wednesday. They said the state is heeding the concerns as Exelon seeks a new federal license to operate the dam.When I arrive in Maryland in 1985, the head of the Chesapeake Bay Program at the time warned that the filling of the pool behind Conowingo was the greatest threat to the Bay in the future. But did they act on it? No. It was easier to dick around with smaller issues.
“The state is committed to addressing the potential environmental damage caused by the Conowingo Dam reaching capacity, and is partnering with the federal government and Exelon to address fish passage and water quality concerns as part of the relicensing process,” Belton said, appearing alongside officials from American Rivers and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation in Annapolis.
“There is no doubt that the Susquehanna River is an endangered river,” foundation Vice President Kim Coble said.
The other rivers on this year’s endangered list are:Unmentioned is the Animas River in Colorado, where negligent EPA contractors, acting on poorly thought out plans from EPA itself spilled millions of gallons of heavy metal laden water from a mine into the river, polluting it for a hundred miles downstream into Utah, and affect the drinking water of thousands of people. But hey, Gina McCarthy apologized.
The Apalachicola, Chattahoochee and Flint rivers, which form a basin across Alabama, Florida and Georgia; the San Joaquin River in California; the Smith River in Montana; the Green and Duwamish rivers in Washington; the Pee Dee River in North Carolina; the Russell Fork River in Kentucky and Virginia; the Merrimack River in New Hampshire and Massachusetts; the St. Lawrence River in New York; and the Pascagoula River in Mississippi and Alabama.