Environmentalists call for more green jobs in Florida listen08/10/09 Mitch E. Perry
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Although health care is the raging issue in Washington and across the country, U.S. Senators are also likely to take up climate change when they return from the August recess next month.
This morning in Tampa, a coalition of activists, politicians, and people involved in the alternative energy industry gathered to encourage citizens to call their representatives in Washington to support federal legislation that encourages more investment in green jobs.
Robert Armstead is with the Florida Conservation Alliance, a group affiliated with the League of Conservation Voters Education Fund. Armstead and his allies want Floridians to ask their senators in Washington to support The American Clean Energy and Security Act, better known as Cap and Trade, that passed in the House earlier this summer.
Under the cap-and-trade system, the government would cap greenhouse gas emissions. Companies that exceed those limits could buy credits from companies that emit less greenhouse gas.
Senator Bill Nelson of Florida has expressed support for cap-and-trade programs because he says it will let the market, and not government, dictate how to lower harmful emissions.
Senator Mel Martinez, who resigned last week, has said that cap-and-trade would be dangerous on Florida, which currently depends on coal for its energy. Tampa City Councilwoman Mary Mulhern says she hopes the Governor selects a replacement who is strong on the environment.
But will Governor Crist? Reports surfaced last week that the Governor, considered one of the most sensitive Republicans in the country on issues like climate change, said he was uncertain how he vote on cap and trade legislation. The Governor also failed to respond to question asked by WMNF on whether he might cancel his annual summit on Climate Change.
Robert Armstead says he is himself is a Republican, and has been disappointed how his party is acted on the issue.
Senatorial candidate Marco Rubio has spoken out strongly against the cap and trade legislation, as he did in an interview with WMNF earlier this year.
In addition to cap and trade, activists at Mondayâ€™s rally said that an energy bill that would put more emphasis on renewable energies will be critical for Floridaâ€™s economy.
The rally was sponsored by the Washington D.C.-based group One Sky, and Green Florida, a local group working on community gardens in Tampa and St. Petersburg.
The American Clean Energy and Security Act could be voted on as early as next month in the Senate.