- The Washington Times - Friday, March 30, 2012

ANNAPOLIS — The House voted Friday to approve Gov. Martin O’Malley’s offshore-wind energy bill.

The chamber passed the bill by an 88-47 vote, sending it to the Senate. The proposal would set a regulatory system paving the way for wind farms off the Eastern Shore in an effort to bolster the state’s renewable-energy portfolio.

Supporters say wind energy will create jobs and reduce dependence on fossil fuels but opponents say it will prove inefficient and costly to ratepayers.

The bill passed largely along partisan lines and will move to the Senate Finance Committee where Republicans and some Democrats have expressed worries over its cost to consumers.

A House amendment would cap any resulting rate increases at $1.50 a month for an average household and 1.5 percent for commercial properties.



Senate Majority Leader Robert J. Garagiola, a Montgomery Democrat and Finance Committee member, said Thursday he thinks he and supporters are currently one vote short of passage on the 11-member committee.
The committee will consider the bill next week.

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