DeSantis Facing Widespread Backlash: Critics Slam New Energy Bill for Neglecting Climate Change Concerns

DeSantis Facing Widespread Backlash: Critics Slam New Energy Bill for Neglecting Climate Change Concerns

The recent legislation signed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis indicates a shift in priorities, with climate change being given less importance in the state. Additionally, the legislation also includes a ban on power-generating wind turbines near Florida’s coastline.

Detractors argue that the legislation passed by the ex-Republican candidate for president fails to acknowledge the pressing concerns of climate change in Florida, such as the predicted rise in sea levels, intense heatwaves, frequent flooding, and more severe storms.

The new policy, set to go into effect on July 1, aims to promote the growth of natural gas and streamline regulations on gas pipelines in the state. Additionally, it includes measures to safeguard against potential restrictions on gas appliances like stoves. These changes were announced in a news release from the governor’s office.

DeSantis, who withdrew his presidential campaign in January and later gave his support to his fierce competitor Donald Trump, described the bill as a practical and logical approach to energy policy.

“We are taking a more rational approach to energy and rejecting the extreme agenda of certain environmental activists,” DeSantis stated in a post on the X social media platform.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Florida currently relies on natural gas for approximately 74% of its electric generation. Critics of the bill signed by DeSantis argue that it eliminates references to “climate” in multiple instances and shifts the state’s energy objectives away from promoting efficiency and addressing the reduction of greenhouse gases, which are associated with global warming.

According to Yoca Arditi-Rocha, the executive director of the nonprofit Cleo Institute, it is evident that the governor and state Legislature are prioritizing the profits of the fossil fuel industry over the well-being of Floridians.

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The legislation also removes the mandates for government agencies to host conferences and meetings exclusively in environmentally certified hotels, as well as the requirement for government agencies to prioritize fuel efficiency when purchasing new vehicles. Additionally, it eliminates the previous mandate for Florida state agencies to consider a list of environmentally sustainable products when making purchases.

In 2008, a bill aimed at tackling climate change and supporting renewable energy was unanimously passed by both legislative chambers. It was later signed into law by then-Gov. Charlie Crist, who was a Republican at the time. After assuming the governor’s office in 2011, Former Gov. Rick Scott, who is now a Republican U.S. senator, made efforts to reverse certain aspects of that measure. The current bill, however, goes even beyond those previous actions.

The measure signed by DeSantis includes provisions to study small nuclear reactor technology, promote the use of vehicles powered by hydrogen, and strengthen electric grid security, as stated by the governor’s office.

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