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Offshore Wind Supporters Hold Rally In Annapolis

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ)—Putting the wind to work. Maryland's energy future takes center stage in Annapolis. A renewable energy bill that passed the House last week has an uncertain future in the Senate.

As political reporter Pat Warren explains, time is running out.

Advocates for wind energy come to Annapolis to help the Senate see the light.

An environmental hootenanny on Lawyers' Mall ends with what organizers clam is an unprecedented circle of lights around the statehouse in support of a bill that puts Maryland on track for offshore wind farms.

"When do you work on the future if it isn't now?" asked one rally attendee.

Gov. Martin O'Malley joined Marylanders of all ages in support of a wind energy bill approved by the House to provide clean energy and steady paychecks.

"If we can capture this now in Maryland, put it on the Eastern Shore or downtown Baltimore or where ever you have a lot of good labor here, you have a good environment to grow jobs," said Michael McGeady.

Some lawmakers have concerns about the risks and the eventual costs passed on to ratepayers. But supporters argue the bill has built-in protections.

"The cost of wind will not go up. Yes, there's a capital cost to build the windmills, but over the next 30 years you can be sure you're not going to have to pay for the wind itself," O'Malley said.

The bill is in the Senate Finance Committee, which would have to vote to send it to the Senate floor for a full debate before the session ends midnight Monday.

Offshore wind is also part of the state's goal to reduce climate warming pollutants 25 percent by the year 2020.

The bill passed by the House caps any rate increase $1.50 a month for households and 1.5 percent for commercial properties.

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