Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Exelon to Pay a Fifth of a Billion in Blackmail For Conowingo Dam

Conowingo Dam
The Big News in the Chesapeake Bay newsfeed today, WaPoo, Exelon to pay $200 million for Chesapeake Bay cleanup
Energy giant Exelon Generation has agreed to pay $200 million to help restore the Chesapeake Bay and protect parts of it from the impacts of climate change.

The deal ends a months-long lawsuit over the company’s operation of Conowingo Dam, the nearly century-old hydroelectric facility that is Maryland’s largest source of renewable energy.

Exelon and Gov. Larry Hogan’s administration had been fighting over how much the company should contribute to reversing the region’s declining water quality and mitigating pollution from upstream sources.

The deal, announced Tuesday by Hogan (R), would pour tens of millions apiece into an array of environmental and ecosystem projects, including a pilot program to dredge some sediment built up behind the dam, funding research, creating a mussel hatchery and making it easier for eels to swim through the dam, which sits on the Susquehanna River not far from the Maryland-Pennsylvania border.

The reservoir behind the dam filled with sediment years faster than scientists had predicted, making it an ineffective barrier for stopping pollutants from streaming into the Chesapeake, where they can smother underwater grasses and deprive fish and other wildlife of necessary oxygen.
Now, I agree that something needs to be done with the sediment behind Conowingo Dam; I just don't see why it should be Exelon's (or whoever owns the dam at a particular time) responsibility to do more than is required for the safe and efficient operation of the dam in its designated function, producing electricity for the people of the region. The dam has protected the bay for almost 100 years from excessive sediment running down the Susquehanna, primarily from Pennsylvania, and to a lesser extent, New York and Maryland, an unintended, and ultimately undesirable outcome of the dam. Shouldn't the jurisdictions that allowed the lousy land use practices be required to pony up for their short sighted negligence?

Exelon isn't going to really pay the fifth of a billion. It's going to raise its rates accordingly, and charge bill to the consumer. I think the dredged spoils should be used to accelerate the reclamation of Bay islands which are slowly succumbing to erosion.

Other versions of the story:

In settlement with Maryland, Conowingo Dam owner Exelon to invest $200 million to clean up Susquehanna River - The Baltimore (Md.) Sun

Exelon commits $200 million to clean up Chesapeake Bay; critics say it’s a drop in the bucket - Penn Live

Hogan Announces $200M Agreement With Exelon For Environmental Projects - CBS (Washington, D.C.) WJZ-TV

Governor Hogan Announces Landmark Agreement with Exelon on Conowingo Dam - Office of Governor Larry Hogan

No comments:

Post a Comment