Environmental Community Still Supportive of Governor O’Malley Despite Waste-to-Energy Disappointment

A May 27 Gazette.net article discusses the environmental community’s relationship with Governor Martin O’Malley, including its disappointment over the Governor’s recent signing of a waste-to-energy bill and its hopes for wind energy legislation in the next regular Session.  The article also briefly examines the underlying political concerns that can drive environmental policy decisions and concludes that environmentalists will continue to support the Governor “in part because they have no one else to turn to.” 

After efforts to limit new septic systems in residential developments and pave a path for offshore wind energy were scrapped and sent to be studied in the interim between sessions, activist groups asked O’Malley (D) to veto the incinerator bill.

To their chagrin, he signed the legislation, citing the importance of meeting the state’s goal of generating 20 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2022.  …

Tommy Landers, policy advocate for Environment Maryland, a research and policy organization, said O’Malley made the wrong choice in signing the incinerator bill, but his group is relying on the governor to resurrect the wind energy bill in 2012.  …

Howard Ernst, a political scientist and author of the book “Chesapeake Bay Blues: Science, Politics and the Struggle to Save the Bay,” said frustration with O’Malley among environmentalists stems from concerns about his willingness to spend political capital on their ideas.

“From a purely political perspective, a governor can gain political points by proposing bold environmental plans, only to let them die in the legislature,” Ernst wrote in an email.

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