EYE ON ANNAPOLIS • BY ED LEVY
The Maryland General Assembly will be dealing with at least two major environmental issues, wind power and stormwater runoff, in the upcoming legislative session.
The Maryland Offshore Wind Energy Act seeks to build wind power turbines in the Atlantic Ocean, ten nautical miles off the coast of Maryland. According to a fact sheet distributed by the Maryland Energy Administration, development of an offshore wind project would generate enough clean energy to satisfy 10 to 15 percent of Maryland’s 2022 renewable energy goals.
The turbines would produce enough energy to power about 80 percent of Maryland’s Eastern Shore, and would result in an estimated $1.9 billion of economic growth over 25 years. It is also estimated that approximately 2,000 jobs would be created during the five year construction and development of the facilities, and 400 additional permanent jobs once the construction is finished.
The bill was introduced last February by Governor Martin O’Malley but failed to make it to a vote before the 2011 legislative session ended. O’Malley vowed to resubmit the bill for the upcoming year and renew the push to pass it.
State Senator Jamie Raskin of Takoma Park, a supporter of wind energy, also has said he will advocate for a comprehensive law regarding storm water runoff. Rainwater running down roads and other surfaces is easily contaminated before entering storm drains that lead to rivers and streams.
The water can pick up everything from motor oil to pesticides to trash.