ANNAPOLIS — A bill in the state legislature aims to give local governments more say when it comes to the Public Service Commission approving energy projects.
It’s a move that Del. Chris Adams, R-37B-Wicomico, said would be beneficial for rural counties confronted with a growing solar energy industry in the state.
House Bill 1350 would require the Public Service Commission (PSC) to seek and consider comments from local county and municipal governments when a generating station or transmission line is proposed within their lines. If any project is deemed by local governments as inconsistent with their comprehensive plans, the PSC would be prohibited from approving it, under the bill.
Eastern Shore counties and municipalities have recently been faced with the possibility that prime farmland used for agriculture production could be taken out of production for renewable energy projects, mainly large solar fields.
There has been a sense of preservation among the agriculture community when it comes to this topic. Many want to see farmland preserved and not leased and taken out of production for solar projects.
The bill, submitted by Del. April Rose, a Republican from Carroll County, is something Adams said would “give local counties a real say as to whether or not an industrial-sized service project moves forward.”