(ANNAPOLIS, MD)—The Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Director of Science and Agricultural Policy, Beth McGee, issued this statement following the release of EPA’s comments on how the additional pollution to the Chesapeake Bay from the lost trapping capacity at Conowingo Dam should be addressed.
For the last few years, the Chesapeake Bay Program has looked at how to address the need to mitigate the additional pollution.
“The science is clear, the Conowingo Dam no longer has the capacity to trap most of the pollution coming down the Susquehanna River. In addition, during storm events, additional pollution is scoured from behind the dam.
“EPA’s evaluation points out several key shortcomings in the current plan to address the additional pollution. Dedicated funding is essential to address the problem, and the current plan lacks specificity about how and where that funding will come from. We continue to believe that Exelon, the owner/operator of the dam, should pay to mitigate part of the downstream water quality effects.
“Additional efforts to reduce pollution must complement current programs, not replace them. EPA is correct to point out that there needs to be a clear accounting for how the best management practice implementation and funding for the Conowingo plan adds to the work that jurisdictions must complete under their existing Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint commitments.
“In its press release, EPA claimed it does not have the responsibility to approve or disapprove of any plan. That is an abdication of its responsibility to oversee the Bay cleanup. EPA must ensure that the plans to reduce pollution will achieve the goals, or, if not, hold the Bay jurisdictions accountable by invoking consequences and backstop actions.”