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Maryland lawmakers are preparing to resume debate on one of Gov. Martin O'Malley's major green initiatives, an offshore wind energy bill that stalled during the last legislative session amid concerns about the cost to utility companies and their customers.
A commission tasked with advising Maryland on possible shale gas production supports a change in the law that would make it easier for landowners to bring claims against drillers regarding water contamination and other damages near hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," sites.
The Chesapeake Bay's oyster population is so low that scientists recommended a complete halt on oyster harvesting in a study published in August. But a moratorium has not gained traction among watermen and state officials.
Maryland lawmakers are starting to debate how much "severance tax" should be imposed on the natural gas that might be produced from the Marcellus Shale rock formation in Western Maryland.
The public debate over fracking has swept across Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, Texas, Colorado and Wyoming, where reserves of natural gas lie deep underground, trapped bubble-like in shale formations
A governor's task force on sustainable growth on Tuesday heard a proposal to double and eventually triple Marylanders' monthly water and sewer fee of $2.50 for Chesapeake Bay restoration. The recommendation would increase the average residential fee from $30 per year to $60 per year starting in the 2013 fiscal year and $90 per year in the 2015 fiscal year.
Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown said that a gas tax increase could help Maryland fund needed infrastructure projects and create jobs. His testimony before a joint hearing of the Maryland House and Senate came one day after Gov. Martin O'Malley said he would consider an increase to the state's gasoline tax by 15 cents a gallon as part of a jobs plan.
A report released Thursday argues that waste-to-energy incinerators are not truly renewable, despite Maryland's waste-to-energy sector being placed in the same renewable energy class as solar and wind power.
The relentless rain caused by Tropical Storm Lee swelled the Susquehanna River and other Chesapeake Bay tributaries to historic levels, and officials are concerned that the resulting influx of nutrients and sediments could harm aquatic life.