State to Resume Conowingo Dam Water Quality Permitting

Officials from MDE recently announced the resumption of permitting for the Conowingo Dam, seeing its operation extended for at least another half-century. 

Conowingo DamLast week officials from the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) announced that they would be renewing a previously agreed upon water quality certification process for the Conowingo Dam. The announcement comes after a federal court ruled that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) was wrong to grant Constellation (the company which runs the dam) a license to keep generating hydroelectric power after both the state and Constellation backed away from the certification process. According to Maryland Matters, the court ruled that”‘(FERC) had no authority to issue a lease based on a private settlement arrangement’ between the state and the national energy giant.”

Moving forward, MDE plans to open two comment periods yet to be announced. One will be a 60-day period for Constellation and those involved in the lawsuit; the other will be a 30-day period for members of the public to express their concerns in writing. The department will use the comments to possibly inform changes to a new permit which is set to be issued at an undetermined date.

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