Supported A Cap And Trade Style Bill For Florida

Díaz de la Portilla has been a proponent of enacting massive pieces of progressive legislation that greatly expanded Florida’s environmental bureaucracy, imposed catastrophic costs on Florida businesses, and destroyed jobs.

In 2008, Díaz de la Portilla voted in favor of the Florida Climate Protection Act expansion. This was a hallmark piece of turncoat Governor Charlie Crist's green agenda for Florida.

HB 7135, Vote #3, 4/30/08, Passed 40-0, Díaz de la Portilla – ‘Yea’ 

This bill codified an expansion to the “Florida Climate Protection Act (1971).” This legislative expansion calls upon the Department of Environmental Protection to develop rules and implementation plans for a Cap and Trade program to be submitted by January of 2010.

Florida Climate Protection Act (H.B. 7135)

• Requires DEP, in consultation with the Governor’s Climate Action Team and the Florida Energy and Climate Commission, to develop rules for a cap-and-trade program to reduce GHG emissions from major emitters.

• Final rule must be submitted to President of Senate and Speaker of House no sooner than January 2010 and will not become effective until the end of the next regular session of the Legislature following their adoption.

FPL, 2008 Florida Climate Protection Act, GHG Cap and Trade Rule, 12/11/08

Governor Charlie Crist worked with the Legislature to further numerous “green energy” policies and combat global warming no matter the detriment to non-complying corporations, in an effort to catch the wave of popularity surrounding "green" technology and appeal to liberals.

During the Summer of 2007, Governor Crist issued three executive orders addressing issues related to global climate change. The executive orders established reduction targets for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, directed the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to develop a regulatory rule to cap electric utility GHG emissions, and created the Governor’s Action Team on Energy and Climate Change.

Environmental & Natural Resources Council, Staff Analysis, 4/16/08

This legislation vested unaccountable bureaucrats in DEP with the power to draft rules for a Florida Cap and Trade Program.

This bill builds on last year’s legislation and includes policies developed through these discussions, including:

• Creating a 9-member Florida Energy and Climate Commission.

• Authorizing the DEP to adopt rules for a Cap-and-Trade Regulatory Program to address GHG emissions from

electric utilities, subject to legislative ratification and not prior to the 2010 Legislative Session.

• Revising the State Comprehensive Plan to include goals and policies addressing low carbon electricity generation.

Environmental & Natural Resources Council, Staff Analysis, 4/16/08

This proposed cap and trade enacting program was estimated to cost government agencies an initial $500,000, though the legislature only appropriated half that amount in 2008. 

The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) provided the following comments regarding the Cap-and-Trade rulemaking costs:

There are numerous authorizations for rulemaking for DMS, DOR, DEP, and others that will have some fiscal impact to those agencies. The costs to DEP of rulemaking could be significant, as we can anticipate the need for outside consultants and economists to assist with rule development and potential rule litigation. DEP estimates it will need an appropriation in the amount of $500,000; however the House General Appropriations Act (HB 5001, 1st Engrossed) appropriates $250,000 for this provision.

Environmental & Natural Resources Council, Staff Analysis, 4/16/08

In addition to creating a Cap and Trade prescription, this bill provided for a number of other green energy policies. The bill increased taxes on power plants by up to $1,000 for each mile of new alternate transmission lines that they laid. This tax would inevitably be passed on to consumers at a time when the Florida economy was tanking. 

The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is required to charge an applicant under the Power Plant Siting Act (PPSA) an application fee for an alternate transmission line corridor in the following amounts:

• $750 per mile for the corridor proposed to be located within an existing right-of-way.

• $1,000 per mile for the corridor proposed to be located outside the existing right-of-way.

Environmental & Natural Resources Council, Staff Analysis, 4/16/08

Additionally, the legislation authorized tax breaks for renewable energy source providers while also increasing the regulatory burden on gasoline providers in the state at a time when energy prices were at record highs and gas was near $4 gallon in Florida.

• Reauthorizing an ad valorem tax exemption for renewable energy source devices.

• Creating a Renewable Fuel Standard requiring that beginning on December 31, 2010, all gasoline sold in Florida contain, at a minimum, 10 percent ethanol, by volume. …

• Revising current law governing guaranteed energy, water, and wastewater performance savings contracting.

Environmental & Natural Resources Council, Staff Analysis, 4/16/08

Finally, the bill gave a green light to regulations that promote the use of “green products” which necessarily puts ‘non-green’ product users and suppliers at a severe competitive disadvantage.

Adopting Climate Friendly Public Business requirements for the use of “green” products, lodging, vehicles, and fuel.

Environmental & Natural Resources Council, Staff Analysis, 4/16/08

Overall, the 2008 green energy plan cost a nominal amount in appropriations that year. This was due in large part to extremely similar legislation that was subject to the Governor’s veto in 2007. The previous year’s legislation called for the same mandates, but made $62 million available to address the energy issues proposed in 2008 that was applied. 

During the 2007 Legislative Session, the Legislature enacted comprehensive legislation to promote energy security and affordability by encouraging energy efficiency and diversity. Although this legislation was vetoed, approximately $62 million in funds were made available to address energy goals.

Environmental and Natural Resources Council, Staff Analysis, 4/6/07