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Florida is writing its own Destiny

In April, Florida enacted a bill prohibiting cities and municipalities from prohibiting the use of fossil fuels, a defensive measure similar to bills being pushed by the natural gas industry around the country. Now, the measure is accomplishing exactly what its writers and business backers intended: it is preventing communities from taking serious climate action. The natural gas sector is extremely sensitive to the possibility of being forced to clean up its act or face extinction, according to new research from the Miami Herald.

The Florida bill, which was passed in April, was drafted only a few weeks after fossil-fuel-friendly legislators and industry interests learned of a nonbinding resolution proposed in Tampa earlier this year that would have prevented new fossil fuel facilities, such as pipelines and natural gas compressors, from being built in the city. Citro eventually withdrew his proposal at the urging of environmentalists who were afraid of upsetting state legislators.

However, that didn’t work; the pro-utilities and fossil-fuel legislation was passed and was signed into law by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. The bill has been slightly scaled down from the version originally written by utility interests, which would have made any fossil fuel restrictions enacted by cities and municipalities prior to its ratification retroactive.

However, it is still regressive, making it more difficult for towns to make significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. Now, big cities in Florida are issuing resolutions that are less successful than they were before the law was enacted. Citro has reintroduced his resolution proposing that the city run entirely on renewable energy by 2035, removing the sections about fossil fuel use restrictions.

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