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Anna Eskamani and Jose Javier Rodriguez push for energy efficiency

The legislation emerges from a national campaign organized by Environment America.

It’s not exactly “Florida’s Green New Deal” but Democratic state Sen. Jose Javier Rodriguez and Democratic state Rep. Anna Eskamani have filed bills pushing for Florida to become energy self-sufficient by 2050.

Their bills, filed late last week, would call on the Florida Office of Energy within the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Affairs to consult with a wide range of agencies, universities, utilities and other entities to develop a statewide plan to generate 100 percent of the state’s energy from renewable sources by 2050. The bill calls for interim goals and mandates, including a 40 percent reliance on renewable energy sources by 2030.

Rodriguez’s version is Senate Bill 1762. Eskamani’s is House Bill 1291.

“As the Sunshine State, Florida should be a nationwide leader in the push for 100 percent clean, renewable energy,” Rodriguez stated in a news release. “In order to ensure a more sustainable, bright future for our children, we must take a strong, clear position on committing to renewable energy today.”

“Committing to clean, renewable energy shows our state’s commitment to protecting public health and sets a bold agenda to foster the growth of green jobs too,”
Eskamani stated in the release. “In fact, solar installers are one of the fastest growing jobs in Florida, with Central Florida being a major driver for this market. And when it comes to public health, we know that in one year 2,577 Floridians die prematurely from air pollution caused by electricity generation. We can and must do better. “

The measure doesn’t include any language relating to job plans found in the federal “Green New Deal” proposed last month by Democratic U.S. Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts and Democratic U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a measure that has been widely derided even by other Democrats. But that’s not being ruled out.

“A state plan to be 100 percent renewable by 2050 would have to integrate job creation, but if that takes shape as public jobs or private/public partnerships is something the state would decide,” Eskamani offered in a text message.

The legislation emerges during a national campaign organized by Environment America’s 100% Renewable Energy campaign, which is pushing legislation in at least ten other states: Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Michigan, Illinois, Minnesota, New Mexico, Texas, and Washington.

Written By

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at scott@floridapolitics.com.

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