How the wind blows

Our view: In 1st District, a newfound interest in alternative energy

August 18, 2008

No matter one's position on wind power, it's difficult not to get blown away by the audacity of 1st District congressional candidate Andy Harris' latest TV ad promoting his national energy plan. His newfound affection for conservation and alternative energy sources, including "wind, solar and biofuel," is in stark contrast to his voting record in Annapolis.

The Republican state senator voted against several alternative energy bills during the last session, including Gov. Martin O'Malley's proposal to require utilities to buy a greater percentage of power from renewable sources. He opposed creating a state fund to invest in conservation and alternative energy projects (one that, incidentally, is not costing taxpayers any additional money) and was against a bill to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions (which would have the effect of promoting less-polluting alternatives).

Mr. Harris' record in previous years is equally poor. In 2004, he was one of only three senators voting in opposition to a solar energy grant program.

Whether this is helpful to the senator's November opponent, Queen Anne's County State's Attorney Frank M. Kratovil Jr., remains to be seen. Mr. Kratovil faces an uphill fight in the Republican-leaning district thanks in no small part to Democratic gerrymandering.

In the ad, candidate Harris suggests that energy requires the "miracles" modern medicine has accomplished. That may be true, but it would be equally miraculous for one of the State House's most intractable leaders to change his stripes.

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