CUMBERLAND, Md. (AP) — The Clean Chesapeake Coalition hopes the Conowingo Dam’s relicensing process will create an opportunity to address concerns about the dam’s role in Chesapeake Bay pollution.

The Cumberland Times-News reports that lawyers for the coalition have filed to intervene in the federal relicensing process, seeking to add conditions to help protect the bay. The coalition of seven Maryland counties is pursuing bay water quality improvements in a fiscally responsible manner.

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“This intervention presents the most significant opportunity to save the bay in our lifetime, given that the license renewal is for a term of 30-50 years,” according to the coalition’s website.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Coalition is beginning discussions and a review of the relicensing of the dam owned by Exelon Corporation. The coalition argues that the dam no longer serves as a pollution filter and should be dredged.

“It’s lost all of its scrubbing power,” said Allegany County Commissioner Bill Valentine. “They’re never going to take care of the bay unless the Conowingo Dam is addressed.”

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Attorney Charles “Chip” MacLeod of Funk and Bolton said the local counties clearly have an interest in the process and he doesn’t expect any objections to the intervention.

Some environmental groups have said that the dam should not become the main concern for bay cleanup efforts.


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