Senator Cardin Criticizes FERC Environmental Impact Statement For the Conowingo Dam

United States Senator Benjamin Cardin submitted a letter on September 16 to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) criticizing its recently released draft environmental impact statement (EIS) for the licensing renewal of the Conowingo Dam.  Cardin stressed the impacts that the Conowingo Dam has on the Chesapeake Bay and the need to address them:

As a U.S. Senator from Maryland, the conservation and restoration of the Chesapeake Bay is a top priority of mine in Congress.  I am concerned about the impacts the Conowingo Hydroelectric Power Plant (Conowingo Dam) is having on the health of the Chesapeake Bay and am hopeful that the relicensing of the Conowingo Dam will be an opportunity to lessen the impact that Conowingo Dam has on the Chesapeake Bay.  …

I feel strongly that downstream impacts and the dam’s effect on the Chesapeake Bay water quality must be considered when evaluating the environmental impact of Conowingo Dam.  …

While I do not believe that solving or restoring storage capacity for new sediments and nutrients behind the dam is a panacea to the Bay’s water quality problem, it is incredibly important that these impacts not be overlooked by the Environmental Impact Statement and eventual requirements for relicensing the Conowingo Dam.

The Senator also criticized the scope and size of the geographic area covered by the EIS and expressed concern about the Dam’s fish passage, recreation and public safety plans, and handling of the endangered bog turtle.

Letter 2014-09-16 Comments on FERC Conowingo Env Impact Statement (Sen. Cardin)