Proposed settlement to provide more than $200 million toward Chesapeake Bay restoration and environmental projectsANNAPOLIS, MD—Governor Larry Hogan today announced a comprehensive agreement between the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) and Exelon Generation Company, LLC, which requires Exelon to invest more than $200 million in environmental projects and operational enhancements to improve water quality in the Lower Susquehanna River and the Chesapeake Bay.
The agreement settles Exelon’s legal challenges to the water quality certification issued in 2018 by Maryland under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act, removing the prospect of years of costly litigation and delay and, instead, setting the stage for immediate and lasting water quality benefits.
“Our administration has committed an historic $5 billion toward wide-ranging bay initiatives and taken bold and aggressive steps to address the challenges posed by pollution, sediment, and debris at the Conowingo Dam,” said Governor Hogan. “This settlement is a significant and positive step in the right direction, and with the cooperation of Exelon and upstream states, we can continue making progress in our efforts to preserve and protect this great national treasure.
”Under the agreement, Exelon will make a total investment of more than $200 million, including nearly $107 million in cash payments to support these environmental initiatives:
Elements of the agreement will be submitted for approval to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) as part of the licensing renewal for the dam.
“This agreement charts a bold course for clean water and climate resiliency in the Susquehanna River and Chesapeake Bay,” said Maryland Environment Secretary Ben Grumbles. “This comprehensive, enforceable commitment by Exelon is part of Maryland’s holistic strategy to improve water quality and accelerate the restoration of the Chesapeake Bay.”
The settlement builds on commitments Exelon has previously made to improve environmental and recreational conditions at and around the dam. In 2016, Exelon entered into a settlement agreement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to implement critical improvements to the fish passage facilities at the dam, which Exelon estimates will require investments exceeding $300 million. Exelon also estimates that it will invest more than $120 million to make enhancements to recreational sites, including dredging of Broad Creek, Conowingo Creek, Peters Creek, and Glen Cove Marina.
Scientific reports confirm that the Conowingo Dam has reached full capacity and can no longer stop pollution from entering the bay, which severely threatens the state’s and region’s ability to meet Chesapeake Bay cleanup goals. The Hogan administration’s holistic strategy includes conditions relating to the proposed relicensing of the dam, a pilot project on beneficial reuse of dredged material, and an unprecedented, multi-state Watershed Implementation Plan specifically for the effects of upstream discharges and the lost trapping capacity of the Conowingo Dam on Chesapeake Bay restoration.