Target: Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chairman Cheryl A. LaFleur
Goal: Don’t renew dam owner’s permit until hazardous sediment collecting at the dam is dredged
Activists have been fighting for over 30 years to clean up the highly polluted Chesapeake bay. However, these efforts will be in vain if the issue of sediment collection by the Conowingo Dam is not addressed. The Exelon Coporation has been the owner of the dam for 85 years without dredging or maintaining the dam. The company has now applied for a permit to continue operation of the dam for 46 more years without removing the sediment that has already been collected by the dam.
Approximately 175 tons of sediment have been trapped behind the dam since its opening. This is a product of almost a century of build-up from clay, silt, fertilizer runoff and sewage plant runoff from Pennsylvania and New York. This sediment contains phosphorus, nitrogen and other harmful nutrients that can cloud waters, sprout toxic algae bacteria, harm ecosystems, kill aquatic life and sully drinking water.
Since its opening, the dam has collected and prevented the sediment from entering the Chesapeake Bay. However, now the sediment has almost reached the brim of the dam. This level of sediment is high enough that at any time one big storm could send it over the edge and into the bay. This spilling of sediment would blanket the Chesapeake Bay and destroy it.
This issue is at its most critical point because the dam’s operational permit is up for renewal. Exelon has applied for a permit renewal from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and could be approved soon. If they are approved, Exelon will not be legally required to remove the sediment for another 46 years. Please urge the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to deny this permit.
Dear Chairman Cheryl A. LaFleur,
The pollution of the Chesapeake Bay has been a major environmental issue for many years. The recent application by the Exelon Corporation to renew their license of operation of the Conowingo Dam would allow the company to continue operation of the dam for 46 more years without dredging the sediment that has accumulated since the dam was open.
This sediment contains phosphorus, nitrogen and other harmful nutrients that can cloud waters, sprout toxic algae bacteria, harm ecosystems, kill aquatic life and sully drinking water. Over the years this sediment has built up almost to the brim of the dam, and one big storm could send it spilling into the Chesapeake Bay. If this happens, the sediment will blanket the bay and cause irreversible devastation to the life in and around the bay area.
Allowing Exelon to continue operation of the Conowingo Dam without cleaning the sediment is an enormous risk to the well-being of the Chesapeake Bay and cannot be allowed. If the permit is renewed, this problem cannot be stopped. I urge you and your fellow Commissioners to deny Exelon this permit until they dredge the sediment that could wreak catastrophic harm to the Chesapeake Bay.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: talboyspy via Creative Commons