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Mr. Adamec insists the governor is as active as ever this session, but critics say his environmental priorities show an attempt to boost his national profile while keeping him a safe distance from such politically dangerous issues as gay marriage and illegal immigration.

Maryland residents and businesses have criticized Mr. O'Malley’s plan for the state to harness offshore wind power because it would increase their utility bills. The money would pay for incentives to alternative-energy groups and require utility companies to enter into long-term contracts with them.

Estimates show the monthly increases would range from about $1.40 to $9, and Democrats have kept the bill in the House Economic Matters Committee as they analyze its impact.

“It’s natural, and it’s welcome frankly, that these issues be met with questions and answers and investigation,” Mr. Adamec said. “These are long-term things that help secure our future and help create jobs in the near term and far term.”

Meanwhile, Mr. O'Malley’s plan to ban septic systems in larger residential developments appears headed for defeat or at least significant change, despite his appearances before House and Senate committees.

Committee leaders acknowledged that the plan will help reduce sewage runoff in the Chesapeake Bay but said it fails to consider much of the Eastern Shore and other rural areas that lack access to public sewer systems. In addition, developers are arguing that the change would increase building costs and home prices.

Delegate Maggie McIntosh, Baltimore Democrat and chairman of the Environmental Matters Committee, has suggested further study. But Mr. O'Malley has not given up on passage before the Assembly session is scheduled to end April 11.

Mr. Simmons said the governor’s proposals have lost some credibility because of criticism from legislators and economists, but that he is unlikely to change his approach.

“I think his agenda is going to be a little more elevated than the day-to-day, hardscrabble fighting for dollars,” he said. “He’s got to be involved in it, but this is his last bite of the apple.”