Florida Senate passes watered down energy bill

04/30/09 Mitch E. Perry
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A bill that would require renewable energy use by utilities was passed out of the Florida Senate, but its future remains very much in the doubt in the House.

SB 1154 would require 15 percent of energy by 2020 to come from "clean energy" sources including nuclear and solar.

That’s a reduction of the original hope of Gov. Charlie Crist to have 20 percent of Florida’s energy coming from renewables by the year 2020.

Miami Beach Democrat Dan Gelber supported the bill, but acknowledged the problem some environmentalists have with the bill, especially with the proposal changed from "renewable: to clean energy sources.

The bill was sponsored by Sen. Jim King, R-Jacksonville. He admits to being disappointed that nuclear power was included in the legislation, but says it never would have passed otherwise.

King has been critical about a lack of passion about the issue in the Florida House, and exhorted his colleagues to send a message by fully supporting the environmental legislation.

The bill passed 37-1 in the Senate, but its future in the House remains dubious.

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