On Monday, April 2, at 7 p.m., more than 300 Marylanders will join hands to form a “circle of support” around the Maryland State House in a hopeful call for final passage of the Maryland Offshore Wind Energy Act. Armed with eco-friendly glow-in-the-dark miniature wind turbines, handmade banners and signs, and wearing electric blue t-shirts, citizens will call on lawmakers to pass the wind bill and bring offshore wind power to Maryland.
Offshore wind energy development has been a focal point of Governor O’Malley’s 2012 agenda, and business and environmental advocates across the state have been working hard to get an offshore wind power bill passed in the General Assembly this year. This past Monday, the House Economic Matters committee favorably reported, by a vote of 13 to 8, the Maryland Offshore Wind Energy Act of 2012 (HB 441) to the floor of the House of Delegates. The bill moved forward after an amendment was passed capping the maximum monthly surcharge to residential ratepayers at $1.50 and the maximum surcharge to commercial and industrial customers at 1.5 percent of their monthly bill.
Today the bill passed its second reading before the full House, and final passage could come Friday. If that happens as expected, the bill will then head over to the Senate. And as passage of the 2012 wind bill draws near, advocates will gather to form a symbolic, glowing, uplifting circle of hundreds of people, 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. This will truly be an unprecedented event.
The event will begin at 7 p.m. on Lawyer's Mall near the State House, with speakers to include Delegate Dereck Davis, Delegate Brian McHale and Capitol Heights Mayor Kito James, in addition to students and small business owners. Formation of the "circle of support" is scheduled to start at 7:50 p.m.