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Maryland leaders bill the state as a pacesetter in green energy,  offering renewable power projects millions of dollars in subsidies since 2004 that come from residents' electricity bills.

But much of the money is going to projects projects that are far from clean. It supports paper mills, such as one in the Allegany County town of Luke, that burn a sludge called black liquor.

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It also underwrites trash incineration at Wheelabrator Baltimore, whose massive smokestack by Interstate 95 is the city's largest source of air pollution.

And while those facilities collect millions of dollars that could otherwise go to cleaner projects, such as a wind farm on Dan's Mountain in Allegany, worried neighbors are stoking conflicts over wind turbines and solar panels in communities across the state.

Black liquor, a byproduct of the paper-making process that is burned to power paper mills, is Maryland's largest source of "renewable" energy, earning it millions of dollars in ratepayer subsidies.

A state renewable energy program is sending millions of dollars of ratepayer subsidies to Baltimore's biggest polluter, the Wheelabrator incinerator. Community activists in South Baltimore are trying to increase recycling to essentially put the incinerator out of business.

Marylanders generally support an embrace of renewable energy, but when faced with the reality of living next to a large wind farm, "going green" becomes much more complicated for many residents.

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