MD offshore wind bill gains momentum
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It looks like Maryland's wind bill may be in for smoother sailing this year.
In late February, Gov. Martin O'Malley's offshore wind bill moved to the final stage of voting in the House of Delegates. The bill, if approved by the House, still needs to pass the Senate.
The legislation, formally known as the Maryland Offshore Wind Energy Act of 2013, would incentivize the development of wind turbines off the coast of Ocean City, with the state promising to buy energy from the farm to help create a market.
In the past two sessions, wind energy legislation failed, primarily because it could add a $1.50 monthly charge to customers' bills. Lawmakers representing lower-income parts of the state did not want to pass that on to their constituents.
But things began looking up for wind when Senate President Thomas V. "Mike" Miller removed from a key committee a senator who was against the wind bill and replaced him with someone likely to vote for the legislation.
O'Malley further sweetened the pot by reserving some of the money raised to go to minority-owned businesses that would get contracts to work on the wind farm. Estimates suggest the wind farm could bring 8,000 jobs to the state.
The bill now has the support of environmentalists, labor unions and the NAACP.
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