Crist again distances himself from environmental movement

09/02/09 Mitch E. Perry
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Five states have asked U.S. Senate leaders to let them impose stricter limits on greenhouse gas emissions than would be permitted under the climate legislation working its way though Congress, saying both levels of regulation are necessary to fight global warming.

The climate bill the House of Representatives narrowly passed in June would preempt statewide caps on greenhouse gases, while cutting total U.S. emissions by 17 percent from 2005 levels by 2020.

The issue will go the Senate sometime this fall.

Reuters reports that if the legislation were to become law, it would effectively halt the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a group of 10 states along the east coast from carrying out their cap-and-trade market that just began this year. The group has raised nearly $370 million for clean energy and efficiency funds by selling emission permits in quarterly auctions. There had been discussions about Florida joining that group, but according to the group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), that will not happen.

Jerry Phillips is with PEER. Phillips said that word that Florida won’t be part of the group was announced in an extremely surreptitious way.

PEER also reports that a spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), recently said that Governor Crist will not be presenting a proposed cap-and-trade rule to the 2010 Legislature.

That development comes after Crist has all but declared he has no intention of hosting a summit on Global Warming, which had garnered praise by environmentalists across the country as a rare Republican speaking out on such a matter.

But as PEER’s Jerry Phillips laments, now that the Governor is actively courting the political right in his battle for U.S. Senate, such considerations seem to be a thing of the past.

Recently, Charlie Crist’s challenger in the Senate race, former House Speaker Marco Rubio, blasted Crist’ sudden resistance to environmental issues, saying, “I guarantee you, he won’t be touting the work he did with Sheryl Crow as part of his primary platform.”

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