Monday, January 28, 2013

Letter From MD Senator C. Anthony Muse on Offshore Wind Bill

C. Anthony Muse
Dear Community Resident:

As you may be aware, I will be serving you this legislative year as a member of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee. As you may also be aware, I have served previously as a member of the Senate Finance Committee. The reason for this committee reassignment is my refusal to “promise” my vote for the “Offshore Wind Bill” without having the opportunity to speak with the governor about concerns that many of my constituents have raised. I was told the governor had no desire to have a meeting and that he just wanted the promise of my vote or I’d be moved. The reassignment was then made by the President of the Senate.
I have a number of concerns about the Wind Bill. My primary concern is the long-term economic impact of wind use on my constituents. I refuse to commit to support a bill that I haven’t even seen, a bill that has yet to be written or submitted to the 2013 legislative session.
However, while I have not seen the bill or read the fine print, here is what I do know about the measure: The cost to residential and commercial consumers will be nearly three times more expensive than the current cost of electric power. So far, no state has state has been successful in bringing its offshore wind farm to the construction stage. I am also very concerned about the following:
1) A surcharge of up to $2 will be added to your monthly electric bill for 20 years.
2) The cost of wind per kilowatt hour in 2008 dollars is between 24.3 cents and 26 cents. We now pay between 9.5 cents and 12.5 cents per kilowatt hour.
3) A study commissioned by the New Jersey Division of Rate Counsel rejected the state’s offshore wind project, declaring it was not in the public interest and would have a negative impact on the state’s economy to the tune of $1 billion and 30,000 jobs lost, as well as increase electricity rates by $15 million to $37 million annually.
4) The Massachusetts Cape Wind project has been unable to sell half of its wind-powered electricity because of its high cost.
5) Because wind turbines are so undependable and minimally productive more than half the time, they need the backup of fossil fuel power plants, which contribute to the greenhouse gases that we are trying to reduce.
6) Developers will make billions in economic profit.
7) Wind bills submitted in 2011 and 2012 had no provision for participation by women and minority businesses. I am concerned about local, women and minority participation. The project should not simply benefit large developers who stand to make a windfall at the expense of rate payers. Our local, small and minority businesses that will also be financing the project should also be able to participate.

This must be in the bill.
As your representative, I believe I owe it to you to hear your concerns about any issue that directly affects your pocket. I have never and will never sell my vote for a committee assignment. Before being elected to the Maryland Senate, I promised you that I would not be bossed or bought by the powers-that-be in Annapolis. You, my constituents, are my bosses.
In my opinion, being given an ultimatum to either vote the way I am told or be reassigned to another committee is neither democracy nor the democratic legislative process. Rest assured that I will serve on any committee with diligence and with integrity, but I will never sell my vote for political gain!!
At the end of the day, I am accountable only to you! I will continue to hold town hall meetings, send you emails and ask for your input on issues, just as I have done for the past six years. This is how I have served you and will continue to serve and represent the voice and the will of the majority of the residents of the 26thDistrict.
As always, please do not hesitate to contact my office with any questions or concerns.

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