Environmental groups are hailing the recent passage in the Senate of an offshore wind bill that was pushed by Governor Martin O’Malley. The Senate approved O’Malley’s Maryland Offshore Wind Energy Act, Senate Bill 275, by a margin of 30-15. The bill will now head back to the House to reconcile some minor details and will head to O’Malley for a signature.
The passage of the bill will make Maryland the first state in the mid-Atlantic to have an offshore wind farm. The bill will impose a $1.50 per month surcharge on Maryland utility bills to help with the subsidizing of the wind farm. Republicans in the General Assembly and some business groups, however, say that the utility surcharges will put too much of a burden for paying for the alternative energy onto consumers and small-business owners.
Mike Tidwell, the executive director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network said, “This bill is to offshore wind power in the mid-Atlantic what the early railroads were to American transportation. It’s a driver of innovation that will create jobs, enhance our economy, improve public health and protect the climate.”