Friday, May 1, 2009
Environmental bills die as House, Senate adjourn
No renewable energy bill.
No money for Florida Forever land-buying or Everglades restoration.
No California auto emissions bill.
No springs bill.
That's how the 2009 legislative session effectively ended tonight as far as environmental legislation goes. The Legislature will reconvene next week to vote on a 2009-10 state budget, but no environmental bills will be taken up.
The bill that would adopt California's auto emission standards was practically dead before session began, according to some senators. And the springs bill that would regulate nitrogen releases to groundwater faced opposition in the Senate, and would have likely had an even tougher time in the House.
Environmentalists and Gov. Charlie Crist held out hope this week for the renewable energy bill, SB 1154. But it was never taken up by the House.
And there was a late deal in the Senate to put language in HB 55 to provide $50 million for Florida Forever and another $50 million for Everglades restoration. But that bill wasn't taken up by the House by the time the Senate and House adjourned at about 7:30 p.m.
The House earlier this week proposed lifting the ban on oil drilling in Florida waters as close as three miles to the coast, but Senate President Jeff Atwater said his chamber didn't want to deal with it so late in the session.
SB 360 dealing with growth management was adopted but apparently without some of the easing of state oversight that the House wanted.
"This session has been about defending Florida's environment rather than advancing environmental policy," said Eric Draper, policy director for Audubon of Florida.
"We support a comprehensive energy policy in the House," Rep. Adam Hasner, R-Delray Beach and House majority leader, said after the session ended. "We support a renewable (energy) portfolio standard. But we would prefer one that is sound policy and not political sound bites."
Story and photo copyrighted by Bruce Ritchie and FloridaEnvironments.com. Please do not redistribute without permission.