State Representative Anna V. Eskamani and State State Senator Jose Javier Rodriguez filed a bill on Friday to transition Florida to 100 percent clean, renewable energy. House Bill 1291/Senate Bill 1762 is supported by a growing list of organizations including Environment Florida, Florida Conservation Voters, the CLEO Institute and Rethink Energy Florida.
“As the Sunshine State, Florida should be a nationwide leader in the push for 100 percent clean, renewable energy,” said State Senator Rodriguez. “In order to ensure a more sustainable, bright future for our children, we must take a strong, clear position on committing to renewable energy today.”
Florida’s current energy sources pollute our air and water; harming our health and precious eco-systems. Even worse– Florida is ground zero for climate change impacts. Floridians are already feeling the effects of a warmer world. From mosquitoes and hurricanes to harmful algal blooms and sea level rise— Florida has a lot to lose if climate change goes unchecked.
“Florida faces enormous environmental challenges. Our state needs solutions that match the scale of those challenges,” said Jennifer Rubiello, director of Environment Florida. “We can have healthier communities right now and a livable future for generations to come—but to get there, we need to transform the way we produce and consume energy.”
Growing awareness of the environmental impacts of our energy use, coupled with rapid advances in technology and declining costs, has made renewable energy the “go-to” option for many communities and businesses. Last month, Tallahassee became the seventh city in Florida to commit to 100 percent clean, renewable energy, joining Orlando, St. Petersburg, Sarasota, Dunedin, Largo and Gainesville.
“Committing to clean, renewable energy shows our state’s commitment to protecting public health and sets a bold agenda to foster the growth of green jobs too,” said State Representative Eskamani. “In fact, solar installers are one of the fastest growing jobs in Florida, with Central Florida being a major driver for this market. And when it comes to public health, we know that in one year 2,577 Floridians die prematurely from air pollution caused by electricity generation. We can and must do better.”
Over one hundred U.S. cities, led by a mix of Republican and Democratic mayors, have pledged to transition their power sources to 100 percent renewable energy. In addition, 131 major companies, including Bank of America, Walmart and Anheuser-Busch, have pledged to power their entire operations with renewable energy.
The campaign is part of a broader multi-state effort to advance bold clean energy bills across the United States. Environment America’s 100% Renewable Energy campaign is working on legislation in at least 11 states: Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Florida, Michigan, Illinois, Minnesota, New Mexico, Texas, and Washington.