Bay Journal

Topics: Energy

Exelon, MD spar over who is responsible for nutrients passing over dam

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A Maryland official called the pending relicensing of Conowingo Dam a “once in a generation” chance to hold its owners accountable for the environmental impacts the 94-foot-high structure has on the Susquehanna River and Chesapeake Bay.

But a representative of Exelon, the utility that owns the hydroelectric facility, said it had already pledged more than $300 million to mitigate the dam’s impacts over the coming decades and the state was trying to force it to pay billions more to fix problems it didn’t cause.

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About Energy

Energy production has had a profound influence on the Chesapeake and its tributaries since European settlement. Settlers built thousands of dams across streams and rivers to provide power for mills and industry. More modern dams create hydroelectric power, but dramatically affect river ecosystems and close them to fish migration.

Combustion of fossil fuels is a major source of pollution to the Chesapeake, and activities such as drilling in the Marcellus Shale can affect stream health and permanently alter terrestrial habitats.

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