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Conowingo dam project EIS open to public comment

WASHINGTON — Federal officials have released a draft environmental impact statement for the relicensing of three Susquehanna River hydroelectric projects, including Exelon’s Conowingo dam.

The deadline for commenting on the draft EIS published Wednesday is Sept. 29.

Exelon’s operating permit for the Conowingo dam in northeast Maryland expires Sept. 1, but it likely will be allowed to continue operating under an interim permit pending a final permit decision.

A key issue surrounding the Conowingo relicensing application is management of sediment that flows down the river toward the Chesapeake Bay.

Exelon’s permit renewal application includes a new sediment management plan. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission staffers are recommending that the plan be modified to include periodic dredging at the Conowingo Creek, Peters Creek and Broad Creek boat ramps to maintain recreational boating access.