Controversial energy bill sponsored by Tampa senator passes through subcommittee

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Aerial drone photo of the Florida State Capitol Building and museum. By felixmizioznikov via iStock for WMNF News circa 2023.

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A Tampa Senator sponsored a bill in a state Senate committee that would make changes to renewable energy in Florida. The bill faced opposition from Democratic senators and climate activists.

A portion of the bill would limit creation of offshore wind energy facilities and wind turbines. It’s sponsored by Tampa Republican Senator Jay Collins.

“As for the wind turbines, the Northeast- they do exist. And they exist in other areas. Talk to the locals about the noise, and the sounds, and the effects of those things. I think you’ll hear some less than glowing remarks on wind power.”

Democratic Senator Tina Polsky spoke against the bill. She said that climate change is apparent, citing frequent flooding in Tampa streets.

“I’m not sure how it became political to care about our environment. Florida is ground zero for climate disasters.”

The bill could also limit the amount of power local governments have to stop the development of fuel terminals in Florida.

This comes as Ormond Beach city leaders continue to fight against a proposed fuel terminal in their area.

Collins faced questioning from Polsky.

“So you don’t believe that it a local government would not be allowed to stop a new facility from being built?

I’ll confirm, and I’ll talk to the attorneys, and make sure I’m reading that properly, and we’ll get back to you on that Senator Polsky.”

The bill passed 6 to 3 through the Senate Appropriations Committee on Agriculture, Environment, and General Government.

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