From April 2, 2012 – In the first-ever demonstration of its kind in Annapolis, about 500 Marylanders joined hands Monday to form a "circle of support" around the Maryland State House in a hopeful call for final passage of the state's Offshore Wind Energy Act (HB 441/ SB 237). Equipped with eco-friendly glow-in-the-dark miniature wind turbines, hand-made banners and signs, and wearing electric blue t-shirts, citizens gathered at the State House to call on lawmakers to move the bill out of the Senate this week after the House voted 88-47 for the measure on March 30th. The bill s now being considered by the Senate Finance Committee, with a final vote expected by April 9th.
Governor Martin O’Malley (D), who sponsored the bill and has fought tirelessly for it, addressed the crowd and encouraged the General Assembly to pass it immediately. The bill would lead to construction of a 200 megawatt wind farm ten miles off the coast of Ocean City, Maryland. Other speakers included members of the General Assembly, a Prince George’s County small business owner, a registered nurse, a student from Johns Hopkins University, and a Prince George’s County pastor.
Advocates then formed a symbolic, glowing, uplifting circle around the State House, creating a dramatic vision for clean energy. Neither activists nor lawmakers can remember a time when the State House has been encircled in such a way.
After last year’s unsuccessful effort to get a bill through the legislature, O’Malley returned this year with a bill that would cap the average monthly cost to residents at $2. But in negotiations with lawmakers, the administration agreed to lower the monthly subsidy charged to residential customers to $1.50, while the fee on nonresidential users was lowered by 40 percent, to 1.5 percent of their electrical bill.
The smaller subsidy could support a 200-megawatt wind farm of about 40 turbines, administration officials said — less than half of what O’Malley sought when he first introduced the idea before last year’s session.
This event was organized by Marylanders for Offshore Wind. http://www.marylandoffshorewind.org/
More photos of the event online here.