Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Sucking Wind

On our podcast last week, Allan Kittleman suggested that is already a forgone conclusion that Governor O’Malley will finally get his wind farm initiative through the General Assembly this year. The wind bill failed to get past the Senate Finance Committee last year. This time around it appear that Senate President Mike Miller is putting his considerable political muscle behind the bill to push it through. According to this story by Michael Dresser in The Sun, Miller replaced C. Anthony Muse, one of the Dems on the committee who opposed the legislation, with a more favorable fan of wind.

“Muse was one of three Democrats who joined committee Republicans in firmly opposing O'Malley wind bill last year. Finance Committee Chairman Thomas M. "Mac" Middleton, a Charles County Democrat, said that with Ramirez on the panel, the chances that O'Malley will win approval of his top remaining environmental priority are much improved.”

For the record, fellow HoCo Senator Ed Kasemeyer also voted against the bill in committee last year.

For Maryland ratepayers, this bill is just another hidden tax. According to this story by Aaron C. Davis in The Washington Post, the governor’s wind farm plan would add “a couple of extra dollars to every Marylander’s monthly electric bill for 20 years and thousands onto those of the state’s largest businesses.”

Wind power is also not as environmentally friendly as it seems. According to this story by Robert Bryce in The Wall Street Journal, “the wind energy industry has had a license to kill golden eagles and lots of other migratory birds.”

“Last June, the Los Angeles Times reported that about 70 golden eagles are being killed per year by the wind turbines at Altamont Pass, about 20 miles east of Oakland, Calif. A 2008 study funded by the Alameda County Community Development Agency estimated that about 2,400 raptors, including burrowing owls, American kestrels, and red-tailed hawks—as well as about 7,500 other birds, nearly all of which are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act—are being killed every year by the turbines at Altamont.”

I’ll bet you won’t hear as much about that in Annapolis this year as you do about the purported hazards of  fracking.
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