Maryland and its economy depend on a healthy Chesapeake Bay. Right now, the state is negotiating with energy company Exelon over water quality threats posed by the Conowingo Dam — and who will pay to address them. However, Congress is considering legislation that will take away Maryland’s authority to negotiate and allow Exelon to stick state taxpayers with the bill to repair any water quality damage the dam causes.
Proposed federal legislation (The Hydropower Improvement act of 2015) would strip Maryland of its authority to hold hydropower dam owners accountable for water quality violations and end critical protections for fish and wildlife at hydropower dams. This federal power grab would give Maryland’s authority to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), an obscure agency based in Washington, D.C. that regulates the interstate transmission of natural gas and electricity.
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