The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Peter Hart,

Florida's Extreme 'Preemption' Bills Target Clean Energy Transition

Bills aim to prevent renewable energy development and block community choice.


A batch of bills that passed in the Florida legislature yesterday represent what may be the most aggressive move in the country to curtail the transition away from fossil fuels.

Following a national trend of 'preemption' laws intended to stop local governments from passing bans on new gas service, the main bill (SB 1128/HB 919) seeks to prohibit local efforts to restrict or prohibit specific "types or fuel sources of energy production." While the intent began as an effort to curtail 'gas bans,' the legislation expanded to void existing local efforts to promote clean, renewable energy--including local ordinances that promote 100 percent renewable goals.

Another bill (SB 856/ HB 839) would "prohibit the siting, development, or redevelopment of fuel retailers and the related transportation infrastructure and from requiring fuel retailers to install or invest in a particular fueling infrastructure" -- which is interpreted as a means to prevent the installation charging stations for electric cars. A third bill (SB 896/ HB 539) seeks to re-classify landfill gas and factory farm biogas as a form of renewable energy. Additionally, a last minute amendment added to that bill includes another preemption measure that stops city and county leaders from having any say over the sighting of utility-scale solar projects--a practice that historically has allowed predatory corporate targeting of environmental justice communities.

The legislation moved forward one week after Governor Ron DeSantis signed a new 'anti-riot' law that would drastically curtail First Amendment rights. A lawsuit has already been filed against the new law.

In response to the legislation, Food & Water Watch Southern Region Deputy Director Michelle Allen released this statement:

"As rising sea levels and climate change supercharged extreme weather increasingly and directly impact Floridians, it is shameful that the legislature would preempt local governments from attempting to do something about this problem. If Governor DeSantis signs these bills, it will show his rhetoric about the environment to be nothing more than hot air -- something we will be experiencing much more in the years to come."

Food & Water Watch mobilizes regular people to build political power to move bold and uncompromised solutions to the most pressing food, water, and climate problems of our time. We work to protect people's health, communities, and democracy from the growing destructive power of the most powerful economic interests.

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