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Florida Dems and Environmental Leaders Call On Lawmakers to Act On the Climate Crisis

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Today, the Democratic Environmental Caucus of Florida (DECF) joined State Senator José Javier Rodríguez and State Representatives Evan Jenne and Anna V. Eskamani at a press conference to discuss the importance of passing legislation to protect Florida's environment and address the threat of climate change. During the press conference, the DECF called out Governor DeSantis' new initiatives for not going far enough to solve the problems of decades of inaction by Florida's Republican leaders.

Environmental leaders highlighted legislation already filed in the Legislature, including HB89/256 sponsored by Sen. Rodríguez and Rep. Eskamani, aimed to make our state more energy-efficient, as well as putting pressure on their Republicans colleagues to end years of blocking environmental bills.

Janelle Christensen, Democratic Environmental Caucus of Florida:

"We are here to remind voters that our Democratic members can't do this alone. We need voters to go to the polls and back up our members doing the good work to protect our environment. We have had twenty years of inaction from the GOP-controlled legislature and governorship. It is time to act on climate. Florida can't wait any longer. Our environment can't afford more years of inaction. DeSantis' initiatives look shiny but are only crumbs to the real crisis our state is going through. We need action, and we need it now."

State Senator José Javier Rodríguez:

"We need to take bold action and we need to do so to protect our residents, the most vulnerable, and to protect our future. I have filed eleven bills related to climate, including four related to energy –– and that is extremely important. We cannot simply talk about the impact of climate without doing our part on the effects on climate. Three percent is the amount of our energy that comes from renewable sources here in the state of Florida. We need to step up, we need goals, and we need a plan. We had a minor victory at the Public Service Commission last week when they backed off of a zero goal. We need to build on that and we need energy legislation — renewable energy legislation — in addition to starting to talk about climate. We need action on climate and action on energy."

House Democratic Leader Designate State Representative Evan Jenne:

"We, as a caucus, are 100 percent committed to combatting climate change. We are committed to standing against toll roads that go nowhere and impact our most sensitive environmental land. We are standing against fake fracking bans that only give lip service. And, we are also going to stand for comprehensive water plans that guarantee a future for Florida that moves forward, and having a DEP that actually protects our state and is not just rubber-stamping for the oil and gas industry. Overall we're going to have a caucus whose main thrust on the environment is realizing that Florida, due to its size, due to its population, has a very large role to play in combating climate change, not just here in the United States but worldwide."

State Representative Anna V. Eskamani:

"For the last decade, it has been energy companies that have determined energy policy in this state. As a freshman lawmaker coming from a generation that clearly understands climate change, enough is enough — we have to hold these utility companies accountable. We cannot be bought by them and we have to find common ground on what is good for Floridians over the bottom lines of shareholders. I am really proud to have filed, along with Senator Rodríguez, for the second year in a row Florida's 100 percent renewable energy goals bill.

"And I want to be clear that part of the goal toward renewable energy also must embrace energy efficiency goals. You cannot have one without the other. Sen. Rodríguez and I were at the Public Service Commission last week to remind this commission that they work for consumers and it was really incredible to actually watch the debate on energy efficiency goals. The greenwashing needs to stop. We don't need more websites. We don't need more research committees. We don't need more empty rhetoric. We need policy and the reality is that bills have been filed and we are ready to debate them."