Monday, March 9, 2015

Exelon and the Conowingo

The two articles I read that dealt with Exelon and the Conowingo Dam issue came from different aspects. The Baltimore Sun reporter, Timothy Wheeler, came in with the main focus being the fact that Exelon’s hydroelectric generating permit may be denied by the state amid water quality issues related to the Susquehanna River. The other article on was covering the latest study of the Conowingo Dam that deemed the dam “not a major threat” to the Chesapeake Bay and its ecological health. The Sun reporter talks about how and why the state of Maryland decided to initially deny Exelon its permit saying that the electric company should be held responsible for the water quality as well as the issues faced by some migratory species in going upriver during their lifecycles.  Exelon is on the hook to spend millions over the next few years on improving conditions of the river in the hope that the company will get its permit renewed. 

The second article I looked at didn’t focus so much on the permit but more so on the issue holding up the permit and that is the health of the river near the dam. This article is about a study that was to be released saying that the Conowingo Dam is not a threat to the Chesapeake Bay. The study was conducted by; the US Army Corps of Engineers, United States Geological Survey, the Maryland Department of the Environment and Maryland Department of Natural Resources. 

I don’t believe it to be fair to hold Exelon accountable for all the Susquehanna River’s water quality issues. I do think it is good and necessary that Exelon will actively look to improve the water but the river extends all the way north through Pennsylvania and New York. The main issues that arise with the water quality of the river are storm water and sediment runoff. There is little Exelon will be able to do about these issues because they do not make policies and the river is so extensively large. Exelon is the scapegoat of the situation with the river and the dam. I believe the blame is falsely put on them to shield the real issue at hand and that is runoff problems in multiple states because it’s a hard issue to tackle.

--Daniel Spradlin

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