ANNAPOLIS – State Senate Minority Whip Stephen S. Hershey Jr. announced that a bill he filed to ensure Kent County officials have approval power over a controversial wind farm project will be subject to a committee hearing in Annapolis next week.
According to a news release from Hershey, R-36-Upper Shore, the hearing will be held at 1 p.m. Tuesday, April 7 in the Senate Finance Committee’s hearing room at the Miller Senate Office Building.
Senate Bill 938 would “prohibit the Public Service Commission from taking final action on an application for a certificate of public convenience and necessity for the construction” of a wind farm in the Kennedyville area without the prior approval of the Kent County Commissioners. Apex Clean Energy proposes to build 25 to 35 500-foot-tall wind turbines as part of its Mills Branch Wind project.
“I am pleased that despite its late introduction, SB-938, will get its deserved hearing. With this opportunity, Kent County will be able to make the case for local authority,” Hershey said in a statement. “Since last week’s bill introduction, our phone has continued to ring, and our mailbox has continued to fill with messages of support for the legislation. It is my hope that the committee witnesses a similar level of support at the hearing next week.”
The hearing is less than one week before the end of session. Full passage would require approval of the committee and then the Senate, followed by a similar process in the House of Delegates, before midnight Tuesday, April 14.
“Full passage in six days will be tough, but doable. Bills have passed in shorter periods of time. But in the event that all we can have is this Senate hearing, it is still an opportunity for the General Assembly and the Public Service Commission to hear the overwhelming opposition to this project and the desire that representatives of the County want a say in this project,” Hershey said.
Del. Jay Jacobs, R-36- Kent, is expected to testify at the finance committee hearing.
“As the resident delegate, for weeks now I have heard the outcry from our constituents that this project could be done with limited local input. The delegation supports this legislation in an effort to bring approval authority to the Kent County Commissioners,” Jacobs said in a statement.
Hershey wants anyone who supports the bill to attend the committee hearing.
“I am inviting all those who agree that a project of this size should require local approval and not just that of the Public Service Commission,” he said.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding