Maryland's Congressional Delegation Urges Focus On Environmental Protection As State Negotiates New Conowingo Dam Concession

Exelon Relicensed to Operate Conowingo Dam for Next 50 Years, after
Exelon Relicensed to Operate Conowingo Dam for Next 50 Years, after from chesapeakebaymagazine.com

In the year 2023, Maryland’s congressional delegation has come together to address the pressing need for environmental protection as the state negotiates a new concession for the Conowingo Dam. With the growing concerns over the dam’s impact on the Chesapeake Bay and surrounding ecosystems, the delegation believes that it is crucial to prioritize environmental safeguards in the new agreement.

The Importance of the Conowingo Dam

The Conowingo Dam, located on the Susquehanna River, has been a significant source of hydroelectric power for Maryland since its construction in the 1920s. However, over the years, the dam has also become a repository for sediment and pollutants that flow downstream, ultimately affecting the health of the Chesapeake Bay.

The Need for Environmental Protection

Maryland’s congressional delegation recognizes the urgent need to address the environmental challenges posed by the Conowingo Dam. The dam’s reservoir has reached its capacity to trap sediment, leading to the release of significant amounts of pollutants into the Chesapeake Bay. This has had detrimental effects on water quality, aquatic life, and the overall ecosystem.

The Delegation’s Call to Action

The congressional delegation is calling for a comprehensive approach to environmental protection in the new Conowingo Dam concession. They believe that any agreement should include measures to mitigate the release of sediment and pollutants, as well as strategies to improve water quality in the Chesapeake Bay.

Investing in Upstream Solutions

The delegation emphasizes the importance of investing in upstream solutions to reduce the amount of sediment and pollutants entering the Conowingo Dam. This includes supporting initiatives such as reforestation, stream restoration, and improved agricultural practices that can help prevent erosion and runoff.

Collaboration with Local Communities

Recognizing that environmental protection requires a collective effort, Maryland’s congressional delegation is also urging the involvement of local communities in the decision-making process. They believe that engaging stakeholders, including environmental organizations, scientists, and residents, will lead to more effective and sustainable solutions.

Ensuring Transparency and Accountability

Another key aspect the delegation is advocating for is transparency and accountability in the new concession agreement. They stress the importance of regularly monitoring and reporting the dam’s environmental impact, ensuring that any necessary adjustments can be made promptly.

Support for Renewable Energy

In addition to environmental protection measures, the delegation also encourages the exploration of renewable energy sources as an alternative to the Conowingo Dam’s hydroelectric power. They believe that investing in clean and sustainable energy options will not only mitigate the dam’s environmental impact but also contribute to the state’s overall energy transition.

The Path Forward

Maryland’s congressional delegation remains committed to advocating for environmental protection as the state negotiates the new Conowingo Dam concession. They firmly believe that by prioritizing comprehensive measures, engaging local communities, and ensuring transparency, Maryland can make significant strides in safeguarding the Chesapeake Bay and its surrounding ecosystems.

A Call for Action

As citizens, it is crucial for us to support and amplify the efforts of Maryland’s congressional delegation in urging environmental protection in the Conowingo Dam concession. By raising awareness, participating in local initiatives, and advocating for sustainable solutions, we can all contribute to the preservation of our natural resources for future generations.

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