Maryland eases wind-power restrictions

April 9, 2007 at 2:35 PM
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BALTIMORE, April 9 (UPI) -- Maryland legislators passed a bill that will make it easier to approve wind-turbine proposals.

The bill is now being reviewed by Gov. Martin O'Malley, who is expected to sign it, The Baltimore Sun reported.

The legislation will reduce the number of environmental reviews to which wind-turbine proposals are required to be submitted. The legislation is being viewed as part of the state's push for more renewable energy.

"I think the governor feels that Maryland has to play a leadership role in alternative energy sources," said Rick Abbruzzese, spokesman for O'Malley. "We will work to find the appropriate balance between the new sources of energy and their environmental impact."

Four mountaintop projects are in the pipeline for Allegany and Garrett counties, but none has made any significant progress.

"It's an important reform," said Frank Maisano, a spokesman for a coalition of wind-energy developers in the Mid-Atlantic region, including at least two companies with projects in Maryland. "They've just helped us streamline the process a little."

Wind-energy proposals in Maryland will no longer have to go through the Public Service Commission permitting process to be certified, though the same is not true for offshore turbines.

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