This Week’s Headlines
Earthjustice files appeal to challenge Exelon takeover
By BRUCE HOTCHKISS
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (June 23, 2015) — Earthjustice, the highly touted legal arm of the environmental movement, has filed, on behalf of Sierra Club and the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, an appeal of the Maryland Public Service Commission’s approval of Exelon’s take-over of PEPCO and Delmarva Power.
On May 15, the commission approved this acquisition in a 3-2 split decision.
Earthjustice contends that the commission’s majority decision is flawed because it failed to properly consider the harm to Maryland and ignored statutory directives.
Earthjustice is a non-profit public interest law organization based in the United States dedicated to environmental issues.
It is headquartered in San Francisco, has nine regional offices across the United States, an international department, a communications team, and a policy team in Washington, DC.
Susan Stevens Miller, Earthjustice’s lead counsel on this case said that “this acquisition is simply not in the best interest of PEPCO or Delmarva Power customers.
“There are significant and real risks,” she continued, “that Exelon will use this merger to increase energy bills over the next few years to subsidize its failing investments in nuclear power.
“The minimal additional conditions imposed by the commission will not offset the harm caused by this merger. Exelon’s long history of hostility to renewable energy and competition from small clean energy businesses is a threat to the future of homegrown clean energy projects in Maryland.”
After the commission files the record with the Queen Anne’s County Circuit Court, Earthjustice will file its brief and set forth in detail “the errors committed by the commission’s majority in approving the acquisition,”
Exelon operates the Conowingo Dam of the Susquehanna River as it empties into the Chesapeake Bay.
Millions of tons of silt, heavy with nitrogen and phosphorous, are piled up behind the dam and spill into the Bay in periods of high water.
As a result of efforts to hinge the renewal of Exelon’s license to a clean-up, Condition 42 of the Exelon merger with the other two utility companies addresses the Conowingo Dam issue.
In it, Exelon reaffirms its previous commitment to fund up to $3,500,000 for a multi-year sediments study.
The condition also states that: Exelon will consult with the Clean Chesapeake Coalition on an ongoing basis regarding sediment study field data collection and analysis, data management and reporting, modeling, and study results.
At the conclusion of the sediment study, Exelon will present the study report’s findings to the members of the Clean Chesapeake Coalition.
In addition, Exelon shall continue its discussions with the Maryland Department of the Environment, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, and other stakeholders on other issues relating to the the dam.
The Clean Chesapeake Coalition which has led the battle for a dam clean-up project, is comprised of 10 county governments: Allegany, Caroline, Carrol, Cecil, Dorchester, Frederick, Harford, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Wicomico.