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Wind Power Expansion Passes Maryland House

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Michal Sacharewicz: http://www.flickr.com/photos/onnufry/2965410770/

The Maryland House of Delegates has passed a bill that would expand offshore wind power in the state. The measure has proved a top priority of governor Martin O'Malley.

Republicans opposed the bill, with house minority leader Anthony O'Donnell leading the charge, alleging that O'Malley pressured fellow Democrats into supporting the measure.

"We should not do this," says O'Donnell. "We should not provide a photo-op for somebody who wants to climb a national political ladder."

Democrat Dereck Davis of Prince George's County chairs the  committee which handled the bill before it reached the full House: "You guys know me. Nobody is pressuring me into a darn thing. I'm a grown man. Nobody is pressuring me into anything."

Other Republicans decried that the bill will lead to additonal surcharges on power bills, and the fact the Democrats were succesful in slowing natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale in western Maryland.

Democrat Heather Mizuer emphasizes that there's a cap on how much bills can rise because of wind power expansion: $1.50 a month.

"We can be drill baby drill if we want to be," says Mizuer. "But let's harness nature's blowing winds. This is a free energy source for us."

The measure now heads to the Senate.

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