A Carroll County Times editorial (2016-07-12), viewed the announcement by Governor Larry Hogan on the Conowingo Dam as a positive action, but also expressed caution against abandoning other water pollution reduction efforts. As previously reported on Conduit Street, Hogan announced the formation of a Conowingo Dam work group that would solicit private sector ideas on addressing the nutrient and sediment pollution coming through the Dam and the Susquehanna River. From the editorial:
In some ways, the governor’s announcement was vindication for [Carroll County] Commissioner Richard Rothschild, who has been beating that drum for several years despite criticism that it wasn’t a Carroll County issue. Rothschild has argued that doing so would reduce the burden on the state’s taxpayers.
The sediment building up behind the dam was definitely an elephant in the room that is finally getting addressed, although it’s not the only contributor to pollution in the bay. But we’re admittedly skeptical that dredging sediment from the dam’s reservoirs will be the panacea that suddenly gives Carroll residents and other Marylanders significant relief from the costs of environmental regulations that have been enacted by previous administrations. …
It also remains to be seen whether a private company will be able to efficiently and effectively dredge the reservoirs at the dam and turn the material into something usable….The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has estimated that dredging there would cost billions. Our guess is if the material could be used to make a profit, companies would’ve been lining up to dredge it long ago.
Bottom line: We think this is a great step in Maryland’s efforts to clean up the bay and one that could ultimately save taxpayers money. It doesn’t mean we should abandon other initiatives already in place to keep pollution out of the state’s most precious natural resource.
The editorial also stated that Pennsylvania needs to do a better job with its water quality efforts.
You can hear updates about Chesapeake Bay restoration efforts and the Conowingo Dam from the Maryland Secretaries of the Environment and Natural Resources at the 2016 MACo Summer Conference.
Learn more about MACo’s Summer Conference: