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Senator viewed as obstacle to passage votes for offshore wind

When the final vote was taken in the Senate on Gov. Martin O’Malley’s offshore wind energy legislation, a somewhat surprising name was counted among the 30 “yeas.”

Sen. C. Anthony Muse, a Prince George’s County Democrat who up until this session of the General Assembly was a member of the committee that worked on the offshore wind bill, joined the majority of his party in approving House Bill 226, which would use electricity rate increases to subsidize the production of energy from wind turbines that could be built 10 to 30 miles off the coast of Ocean City.

Muse was removed from that panel — the Senate Finance Committee — in January, after refusing to vote in favor of a similar offshore wind bill during last year’s legislative session. The House of Delegates passed that bill, but Muse’s opposition was viewed as the reason why the full Senate never debated O’Malley’s proposal.

Without Muse,who was replaced by Sen. Victor R. Ramirez, D-Prince George’s, the Finance Committee voted 7-4 to bring the bill to the full Senate, where it won approval by a 30-15 vote.

But environmental lobbying groups, already gearing up for the 2014 elections, said while they support the senator’s support this time around, all is not forgiven.

“One vote does not an endorsement make,” said Jen Brock-Cancellieri, deputy director of the Maryland League of Conservation Voters.

Muse could not immediately be reached for comment.