Exelon withdraws Conowingo permit bid

Regulatory pas de deux: Exelon withdraws bid for Conowingo permit the state said it would deny.

Exelon Corp. has withdrawn its bid for a permit needed to continue generating electricity at Conowingo Dam after state regulators indicated they intended to deny it, a state spokesman said Monday.

The Chicago-based power company pulled its request for a water-quality certificate from the Maryland Department of the Environment, but indicated it intends to reapply within 90 days, according to Jay Apperson, the department's acting communications director.

State environmental regulators had declared their intent to deny Exelon's current request, saying there was insufficient information on how Susquehanna River sediment building up behind the dam is affecting the Chesapeake Bay. Exelon has pledged $3.5 million to underwrite further studies over the next two years.

With that and other issues around Conowingo unresolved, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has granted Exelon a one-year extension of its current license to operate the hydroelectric facility.

A public hearing Jan. 7 on Exelon's application has been canceled because of the withdrawal, Apperson said. A public meeting set for Tuesday (Dec. 9) on a study of the sediment buildup at the dam will go on as scheduled, at 7 p.m. at Harford Community College.

Tim.wheeler@baltsun.com

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