Why Southern Maryland and the Eastern Shore are Facing Off over Wind Development
At the beginning of the session, there were a number of bills to repeal the stormwater runoff fee, also known as the rain tax. None of them passed, but the state did allow Carroll and Frederick counties to pay the money due in ways other than a fee, such as through property taxes.
The legislature also passed several bills that could affect wind development in the state. One pitted southern Maryland against the Eastern Shore: it would place a 13-month moratorium on a proposed wind development in Somerset County. The moving turbines could interfere with the radar used at the military base at Patuxent River, and southern Maryland lawmakers want more time to figure out how to avoid that. Governor O’Malley has traditionally supported wind development in the state, and it's not known whether he'll sign the bill.
The legislature also passed a bill that would increase the amount of Wildlands in Maryland by more than 50 percent. Those are what the state calls "areas of land or water that have retained their wilderness character." Learn more about them here.
Sheilah Kast talks about all this with Tim Wheeler, environmental reporter for the Baltimore Sun. Check out his reporting here.