News roundup: Extenders delayed in Senate, Maryland Gov. quiet on wind bill, Cape Wind gets local help

As we enter the weekend, the EXPIRE Act has run up against a procedural delay in the Senate, Maryland’s governor contemplates wind turbine legislation, and Cape Wind contracts three local businesses.

The EXPIRE Act, which includes the PTC and passed out of the Senate Finance Committee in early April, ran into a procedural roadblock yesterday as Senate Republicans opted to hold up the bill for now. The Hill:

  • In a 53-40 vote, the Senate failed to end debate on the tax package authored by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.). Sixty votes were required to move forward, and only Republican Sen. Mark Kirk (Ill.) voted with Democrats.
  • Republicans wanted to offer amendments to repeal the ObamaCare medical device tax and strike the wind production tax credit from the Senate package, but Reid filed cloture on the bill Wednesday after using a procedural move known as filling the amendment tree that blocks the minority party's ability to call up amendments.
  • “If our guys are getting shut out, I think it’s awfully hard to be for this process, even though most of us support the bill,” said Sen. John Thune (S.D.), a member of both GOP leadership and the Finance panel.
  • Reid switched his vote on cloture to "no" so that he can call the amendment up again later if needed.

Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley is so far staying quiet on signing legislation that would delay a proposed wind farm in his state. Washington Post:

  • While O’Malley (D) has no more signing ceremonies planned, aides said that state constitution gives him until the end of next week to decide whether to veto the legislation, as environmentalist have urged, or to allow it to become law.
  • “The governor has not made a final decision on the bill,” spokeswoman Nina Smith told reporters following a morning ceremony at which O’Malley signed more than 200 other bills passed during the legislative session that ended last month.
  • After more than two years of meetings with military leaders, the wind farm developers thought they had reached a compromise: protect the radar capabilities by simply turning the turbines off during test flights.
  • Proponents of the project, meanwhile, argue that the legislation could scare away wind developers and taint O’Malley’s reputation as a dedicated environmentalist as he contemplates a run for the White House.

Cape Wind is in the process of completing its geophysical surveys of the area where it plans to put one of the nation’s first-ever offshore wind farms, with the help of three nearby companies. reNews:

  • Cape Wind has employed four companies to aid with geophysical surveys of the up to 468MW offshore wind farm site on Horseshoe Shoal, as well as the offshore cable routes.
  • The four companies – Fathom Research, AIS,  Hercules SLR and Ocean Surveys – and the developer are using survey vessels with a suite of geophysical instruments to survey the seafloor and subsea geology. Ocean Surveys is the lead survey contractor.
  • Fathom Research president Ward McIntyre said: “We look forward to continuing our work relationship with Cape Wind as we continue to position Fathom Research as a multi-tooled marine service provider for the future needs of the U.S. offshore wind industry.”
  • AIS president Arvidas Poshkus said: “AIS observers are following federal guidelines to ensure that marine mammals and sea turtles are not harmed during Cape Wind operations.”

Be sure to check out this week’s other roundups:


Ramsey Cox and Bernie Becker, “GOP blocks tax breaks bill.” The Hill. 15 May 2014.

John Wagner and Jenna Johnson, “O’Malley still weighing signature or veto on bill to delay Somerset County wind farm.” The Washington Post. 15 May 2014.

Staff, “Cape Wind enlists survey team.” reNews. 12 May 2014.


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