By Timothy B. Wheeler, Bay Journal News Service
Federal regulators have approved the relicensing of the Conowingo Dam, blessing a controversial deal that Maryland reached with the dam’s owner over its responsibility to help clean up pollution of the Susquehanna River and Chesapeake Bay.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued a brief press release Thursday announcing its decision to grant Exelon Corp. a new 50-year license to operate the dam, ending nearly eight years of study and debate.
“The license includes conditions to enhance fish migration, protect bald eagles and other wildlife, upgrade 13 public recreation sites, address sediment issues and protect archaeological and historic sites,” the release said.
The order, which has yet to be released, incorporates settlements negotiated between Exelon, the Maryland Department of the Environment and U.S. Department of the Interior. The deals address fish and eel passage upriver, as well as sediment and nutrient pollution…