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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Adam Putnam's "modest" energy bill en route to Rick Scott



It's not exactly what he envisioned, but Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam is still a happy man. His energy bill restoring millions in expired renewable energy tax credits, among other things, is heading to Gov. Rick Scott.

It puts Florida "somewhere between a baby step and a modest step" toward energy independence, but that's a good thing after four years of little to no action on energy policy, said Rep. Scott Plakon, R-Longwood, the sponsor of HB 7117.

The House gave it final approval Friday by a nearly unanimous vote of 116-2 . Republican Reps. Marlene O'Toole and Eric Eisnaugle voted against it.

Putnam was working the House floor but left before the bill was brought up for a vote. He told Buzz he was excited because it was the first bill up.

Still, several House members were frustrated by the Senate's changes, which included removing incentives for seniors to install renewable projects.

"It clearly doesn't raise rates," said Rep. Seth McKeel, R-Lakeland, referring to the House version. "It is still historic in recent times to have the state back moving forward on energy policy."

Rep. Jeff Clemens said he was disappointed in the removal of a provision that allowed the Public Service Commission to determine what renewable energy projects would mean for Florida, but he encouraged members not to vote the bill down because of them.

It gave him heartburn, but "I don't want to see the bill die."

[Last modified: Friday, March 9, 2012 11:04am]


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