Sarbanes Underscores the Importance of Federal-State Cooperation to Safeguard the Health of the Chesapeake Bay

During a House Subcommittee on Energy hearing today, Congressman John Sarbanes (D-Md.) urged the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to collaborate with Maryland on re-licensing the Conowingo Dam in order to maintain the state’s environmental standards and safeguard the health of the Chesapeake Bay.

“Early on in this project, FERC denied several study requests that Maryland made, denials that actually created delays,” said Congressman Sarbanes. “I think, overall, the commission could probably be doing more to cooperate with states – really view it as a collaborative effort – and ensure that licensees provide sufficient information early in the licensing process to support state decisions.”

Sarbanes continued: “Maryland also has been working with neighboring states, and the states within the Susquehanna River Basin to improve water quality conditions in the Chesapeake Bay…. The Conowingo Facility has to be part of that solution as well, and this re-licensing provides that once-in-a-generation opportunity to get it right; to address the sediment issues associated with the dam and the facility’s operation. So we have to address that issue, and if we don’t address it, we’re going to be putting the health of the entire Chesapeake Bay in jeopardy.”