Point of View: Oysterman Scott Budden on Exelon’s Pending 46 Year Lease to Run Conowingo Dam

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While Scott Budden and his company, Orchard Point Oyster Company, might be the face of a new generation of oystermen on the Chesapeake Bay, his concerns about the Conowingo Dam, its owner, the Exelon Corporation, and their pending approval for a 46 year old lease to operate it, has a very familiar ring to it. Just like other oystermen working in the north part of the Bay for many years, Scott believes the company needs to listen more and proactively coordinate with oyster producers when, and how much, sediment is released into the Bay from the Dam and the Susquehanna River.

In short, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission plans to renew Exelon’s operating lease for almost half a century this year. As part of that permitting, the energy corporation must obtain the approval of is required to obtain a Clean Water Act certification from the Maryland Department of the Environment for the continued operation of the facility and the state has encouraged public comments on this long-term arrangement until January 15.

And Scott has quite a few comments.

In his Spy interview last week, Scott talks about the negative impact of Exelon’s current practice of releasing the dam’s waters to generate power, regardless of the sediment impact on Bay’s oyster beds. He also talks about the need for more significant partnerships between Exelon and the aquaculture industry to ensure the minimum amount of damage to the Bay and its essential oyster industry.

This video is approximately four minutes in length. For others interested in making a documented comment on the pending lease agreement, please use the following contact and address by January 15:

Elder Ghigiarelli, Jr.
Deputy Program Administrator
Wetlands and Waterways Program/Water Management Administration
Maryland Department of the Environment
1800 Washington Boulevard, Suite 430
Baltimore, MD 21230
or
elder.ghigiarelli@maryland.gov

 

About Dave Wheelan

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Letters to Editor

  1. Carl M. Gallegos says:

    I believe it is absolutely vital that before the MD Department of the Environment grants certification for Exelon Corporation to operate the Conowingo Dam, that a partnership must be developed between Exelon and the aquaculture industry, watermen, and other entities that derive their livelihood from the Chesapeake Bay regarding timing of the release of water from the Conowingo Dam. It is equally vital that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ascertain the formation of this partnership before approving the lease for Exelon to operate Conowingo Dam.

    • Mr. Gallegos:

      That would be the case in an ideal world. Maybe Exelon will listen to suggestions like this, maybe they won’t. Have to let MDE know before 1/15/18 though, or it won’t be given as much weight.

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