Tallahassee, FL — Yesterday, the Florida State Senate voted to pass a suite of energy preemption legislation that has been making its way through the legislature. The bills, SB 1128/HB 919 and SB 856/HB 839, now head to Governor DeSantis’ desk for his signature. If signed into law, the suite of bills would preempt any local government action to restrict or prohibit sources of energy production, thus hampering local governments’ abilities to move off fossil fuels.
Part of a nationwide push by the oil and gas industry to preempt local government initiatives to move off fossil fuels, Florida’s bills are the most stringent to move ahead in any of the fourteen states with similar legislation under consideration. Another dangerous bill making its way through the legislature is SB 896/HB 539, which would redefine Florida’s clean energy to include false solutions like “renewable natural gas,” ensuring fossil fuel industry entrenchment for years to come. The bill would also prevent communities from being able to decide if and where to site utility-scale solar installations.
In response, Food & Water Watch Florida Senior Organizer Brooke Errett issued the following statement:
“The Florida legislature is drilling the nail into their own coffin. Instead of following the lead of our local legislators who have forged boldly ahead with clean energy resolutions that respond to constituent demands, our state legislators are carrying water for industry interests. Florida will suffer from these energy preemption bills today and in the future, as we try to fight climate change’s worst impacts only to find our toolboxes emptied. Governor DeSantis pledged to fight for Florida’s environment and ban fracking — which he has thus far failed to do. DeSantis now has the chance to rise to this historic occasion and veto these dangerous energy preemption bills, or he will be responsible for driving the final stake into the heart of Florida’s clean energy future.”