As Senate energy bill moves, House gets heat from within
Even as a Senate committee unanimously passed Sen. Jim King's clean energy bill, the so-called "20 by 2020" sought by Gov.Charlie Crist, House leadership got an earful via a letter from Minority Leader Rep. Franklin Sands for failing to move any companion legislation.
"It seems the leadership is ignoring the issue, even the pleas of your own Energy & Utilities Policy Committee Chairman, Paige Kreegel," Sands wrote to House Speaker Larry Cretul. "The result is shameful: After months of committee meetings and four weeks of session, the Florida House of Representatives has no energy package. None. The impression in any thinking Floridian’s mind is that we are ignoring not just initiatives that will directly benefit Florida, but ignoring a worldwide movement, and firmly embracing an obsolete status quo." Click here to download Sands' letter.
There are less than four weeks to go before the session ends, and even King told the Senate environmental preservation and conservation committee that he is "having difficulty with our friends on the other side of the hall. I can't get an answer about whether they want to do anything with this or not."
King amended his bill (SB1154) Monday morning to take out a controversial penny gas tax, and he tweaked some language to make it clear that while utility companies are encouraged to take advantage of nuclear energy to reach the 20 percent goal by 2020, it is not mandatory, The bill sets a goal of 20 percent of Florida's energy coming from renewable and clean energy sources (solar, wind, biomass, nuclear, etc) by 2020. Next stop: the finance and tax committee.
The governor has made the legislation one of his priorities this session. But if the House is going to move, it needs to move soon, King said. Tick tock goes the session clock.
"I don't care if they take up the Senate version or give us their own," he said. "I just want to see a bill, to get a start. Because I've seen efforts to pass a bill like this go down the tubes time and again."