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Dredging Conowingo Dam: Ineffective

Exelon Corp. website

BEL AIR, Md. (AP) - State and federal agencies are holding a public meeting to discuss their conclusion that dredging the reservoir behind the Conowingo Dam wouldn't effectively reduce pollution of the lower Susquehanna River and Chesapeake Bay.

The meeting Tuesday night in Bel Air offers an opportunity for people to sound off on an issue that Gov.-elect Larry Hogan has highlighted.

The issue is the so-called "rain tax," a fee that 10 local jurisdictions would pay to fund stormwater management plans aimed at reducing bay pollution carried by rain runoff. Hogan wants to get rid of the fee.

Critics of the fee say the dam's reduced ability to trap sediment is an overlooked contributor to bay pollution. The draft report by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says dredging isn't an effective, long-term solution.

More Study

Credit change maryland website
change maryland website
Governor-Elect Larry Hogan (R)

BALTIMORE (AP) - The Maryland Department of the Environment says Exelon Corp. will pay up to $3.5 million to fund more study of the Conowingo power dam's effects on Susquehanna River and Chesapeake Bay water quality.

The agency threatened last month to deny a permit renewal because the Chicago-based company hadn't fully supported its assertion that the dam's reduced ability to trap sediment was harming the Chesapeake Bay, about 10 miles downstream.

Hogan has largely blamed the dam's ineffectiveness for bay pollution. He has belittled state and federal efforts to reduce pollution by controlling runoff from rooftops, farms and paved surfaces statewide.

The Army Corps of Engineers has concluded that dredging the river to improve the dam's sediment-trapping ability could cost billions and have relatively little effect on the bay.

Don Rush is the News Director at Delmarva Public Media. An award-winning journalist, Don reports major local issues of the day, from sea level rise, to urban development, to the changing demographics of Delmarva.