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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Green smiley faces for Nelson, Martinez on climate bill

Environment Florida lauded Florida's U.S. senators, Democrat Bill Nelson and Republican Mel Martinez, for voting today to advance a climate change bill that would limit carbon dioxide emissions in hopes of slowing global warming.

Despite the support of a majority of senators, Republicans ensured it lacked the votes to get past a procedural hurdle.

The vote was especially striking for Martinez, who bucked President Bush and the Senate Republican leadership to support advancing the bill.

"Climate change is the most important environmental issue of our generation," Martinez said in a statement. "I voted to move this issue forward in Congress because Florida is uniquely vulnerable to the threats of rising sea levels and intensified hurricanes that could result if carbon emissions continue to go unchecked."

But he also made clear that he saw the legislation as a starting point, not the end game, and said "serious serious modifications to this bill are necessary" for it to pass.

"Without substantial investment in and advancement of nuclear and other clean energy technologies, 30years from now we will be facing increased pollution levels, experiencing substantially higher utility rates, and decades behind finding our own energy independence," Martinez said.

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 10:21am]


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