Last session Senate Bill 696 was passed in the Maryland General Assembly, giving the power of eminent domain to private utility companies. Delegates McDonough, Susan McComas, and I, Delegate Rick Impallaria, all voted against granting this extraordinary power to a private company.
There were many reasons claimed about why this is needed, but in my opinion they're all bad, and it’s due to deregulation of the utility companies. They just don't want to play nice with one another in the same sandbox. So, rather than sharing existing power lines and rights of way, they want to build their own lines so they can be the sole company to receive the profits from selling and transporting power into Maryland. And please remember, I did not support deregulation; this was one of the reasons why.
Maryland has taken the failed California approach to generating energy. Nuclear, coal, and natural gas were all planned to be phased out, and fracking has been blocked in western Maryland. We are left with wind and solar for our future energy needs. These sources can at best supply only 10 percent of Maryland’s energy needs. And tens of thousands of acres of farm land will have to be gobbled up to build these solar and wind facilities, driving energy costs through the roof, and requiring you to take additional money out of your pocket in taxes to subsidize these inadequate types of renewable energy.
So, yes, we can stop Transource. How? First, by using the reliable energy sources already operating in the state. Second, to have power companies share transmission rights of way, transmission lines and poles that already exist. Third, you, our constituents, join with us to stop this land grab by these large corporate interests.
This is why I am drafting a bill for the 2018 session to repeal the current eminent domain law and to take it one step back – to study in what direction we should be going with respect to energy production, while acting in the best interests of our citizens, our state, along the lines of protecting and growing jobs.
Affordable energy for everyone is a goal we can achieve, so is protecting our rural farmlands.
Delegate, District 7