Exelon Withdrawal of Water Quality Application Pushes MDE Conowingo Decision to 2016

A December 8 Cecil Whig article reported that Exelon Generation has announced it will withdraw its water quality certification application for the Conowingo Dam that is currently pending before the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) and resubmit it next year.  This move follows up on Exelon’s recent decision to spend $3.5 million to conduct additional environmental impact studies on the Dam, partly in response to MDE concerns.  From the article:

The move means the Maryland Department of the Environment now has until January 2016 to decide whether to approve the certification, which Exelon needs to obtain a 46-year operating license for the Conowingo Dam.

It also cancels the department’s plans to hold a Jan. 7 public hearing on the original application, according to spokesman Jay Apperson.  …

Just last month, MDE announced potential plans to deny the utility its permit to generate electricity on the Susquehanna River. The agency said Exelon had “provided insufficient information … regarding the impacts of the activity on State water quality standards.” Groups, including the Clean Chesapeake Coalition of which Cecil County is a member, are pushing MDE to force Exelon to address sediment build-up in the reservoir behind the dam before issuing a new license.

The article noted that Exelon was granted a one-year license extension by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the federal agency charged with granting or denying Exelon’s Conowingo operating license.

Prior Conduit Street Coverage of the Conowingo Dam