First Click -- Maryland
Your daily download of Maryland's top political news and analysis
Monday, November 2, 2009:
Constellation, EDF approve deal
Constellation Energy and French energy giant, EDF, have accepted conditions laid out Friday by Maryland's Public Service Commission and will proceed with a $4.5 billion deal that could lead to construction of a new nuclear reactor in southern Maryland, according to a statement EDF released this morning in Paris.
"EDF and Constellation Energy will complete the transaction without modification to the previously agreed terms of the transaction," the statement read. Constellation plans to sell 49.9 percent of its nuclear facilities to EDF.
The PSC, which had asserted it had the right to rule if the venture would benefit customers of Constellation subsidiary Baltimore Gas and Electric, offered conditional approval for the plan on Friday if the two companies would provide rebates of about $100 for each BGE ratepayer and provide a cash infusion and other aid to insulate the utility from potential problems related to the deal.
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle said Friday that they were concerned about the PSC's focus on helping BGE customers when residents elsewhere in the state pay similar, if not higher utility rates, and that the language of the decision seemed overly political. All of the PSC members are appointees of Gov. Martin O'Malley.
Over the weekend, former Gov. Robert Ehrlich (R) charged that the fued between O'Malley and Constellation Energy hurt Maryland's business reputation.
Like O'Malley's comments about the ruling on Friday, however, which struck a more conciliatory tone than he had embraced previously, EDF said in the statement that "the Maryland PSC has attached conditions designed to preserve the independence and financial strength of Constellation Energy`s regulated subsidiary. ... EDF looks forward to operating and developing nuclear power plants in the U.S."
FBI probing politically connected nonprofit in MoCo.
The FBI is looking into spending practices at a Wheaton nonprofit group that is well-connected in Montgomery political circles. Centro Familia runs a bilingual preschool, trains day-care providers and receives about $450,000 annually in contracts from Montgomery County.
"A bureau agent visited the organization's office last week and interviewed at least one of its staff members," writes The Post's Miranda Spivack. Centro Familia has also recently come under scrutiny by the county's independent inspector general and the county's health and human services department.
Magazine gives O'Malley a timely nod
"Here's something you're certain to hear about next year on the campaign trail: Governing magazine has chosen Gov. O'Malley as one of its 'Public Officials of the Year.'" writes The Post's John Wagner.
O'Malley, who graces the cover, is one of eight honorees cited by the wonkish publication as "proven leaders for times such as these."
"...Let the Republican rebuttal begin," Wagner writes.
In Tuesday's contests, Steele sees a vote on his leadership
"Once heavily embattled because of a series of gaffes that infuriated his fellow Republicans, former Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele is taking steps to cast strong showings in races in New Jersey, Virginia and New York as signs of both a Republican comeback and his own successful leadership as national GOP chairman," writes The Post's Perry Bacon Jr.
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