Clean Energy Bill Backed by Crist Dies
It would have required more clean energy sources.
By BRENDAN FARRINGTON
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
TALLAHASSEE | One of Gov. Charlie Crist’s top priorities died Friday as lawmakers failed to take up a clean energy bill before going home.
Legislators plan to return next week, but only to vote on a budget next week.
Crist wanted a law to require power companies to generate 20 percent of their electricity through clean sources by 2020. The Senate was able to pass a measure (SB 1154), but the House refused to consider it.
"I’m disappointed because we put so much into it," said Sen. Jim King, R-Jacksonville, who noted the utility industry and environmentalists both supported the bill.
"I don’t know whether Jupiter is ever going to align with Mars like that again, where we get everybody that’s involved in favor of the bill. That’s hard to do."
The House earlier this week passed a bill that would have opened Florida waters to offshore oil and natural gas drilling.
That measure (HB 1219) would let the governor and Cabinet approve drilling leases in state-controlled water three to 10.5 miles from shore.
"That’s a no starter for us, I can’t do that," King said.
Failing to pass the measure means losing out on the opportunity to draw new business to Florida, such as solar energy companies, said Florida Audubon lobbyist Eric Draper.
"You had this incredible amount of work being done involving almost all the stakeholders in the process. You had utilities working with renewables producers working with environmental groups to push a good compromise package put together in the Senate and the House didn’t even look at it," Draper said.
"It’s even more disappointing by the fact that it got tied up in an oil drilling proposal."