Florida cities aren’t allowed to tell gas stations to add electric vehicle charging stations under a new law. Meanwhile, the state is spending its own money to add fast-charging stations on Florida’s highways.
Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the gas station regulation preemption (HB 839) legislation Wednesday.
The new law shields gas stations and their related infrastructure from being outlawed by local governments. The issue arose after some cities looked at policy options that want to encourage clean energy. Under the new law, local governments can still regulate things like zoning, building codes and necessary transportation issues.
A salient part of the new law is that a local government will not be able to require a gas station to add electric vehicle charging stations. That ban comes as the Florida Department of Transportation has been putting together a plan to add more charging stations to the state highway system.
DeSantis, last summer, announced the state will spend $8.6 million from a legal settlement with Volkswagen to add 34 fast-charging stations along Interstate 95, Interstate 4, Interstate 75, Interstate 275 and Interstate 295. The state awarded 27 contracts to set up the 34 stations.
Location selection for the charging stations is based on hurricane evacuation routes.
During committee hearings, the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Tom Fabricio said the bill was necessary, citing a resolution considered, but not passed, by the Tampa City Council that would have a set a goal for the city to move to 100% clean energy by 2030.
“I believe that there is a lot of talk throughout the state from different portions of different initiatives that would absolutely seek to eliminate petroleum immediately or as quickly as possible. And while I support green initiatives, we need to take things in a measured approach, and we can’t simply eliminate the sale of petroleum, and that’s what this bill seeks to do,” Fabricio said, responding to questions from Democratic lawmakers about why the bill was needed.
The new law was watered down from an original version, which received pushback from lawmakers in committee meetings and from local governments. That first version included provisions that would prevent local governments from prohibiting natural gas fracking, as well as nullify solar-promoting ordinances and eliminate county authority over pipelines along roadways.