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Politics

Adam Putnam's Renewable-Energy Bill Passes

March 9, 2012 - 6:00pm

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam on Friday morning cheered the House's passage of the energy bill he has been pushing throughout the 2012 session. With the House passing the measure 116-2, it is now on its way to Gov. Rick Scott. Two Republicans voted against the measure, Eric Eisnaugle of Orlando and Marlene O'Toole of The Villages.

The Florida House of Representatives cast its final vote today in support of advancing Floridas energy future, Putnam said. Floridas energy bill, which will increase diversity in the states energy portfolio, expand energy production and create much-needed jobs for Floridians, is now headed to the governors desk for signature.

With overwhelming support in both chambers, the Legislature is sending a clear message that Florida is focused on its future. Were putting Floridas energy policy back on the right track, positioning Florida to secure a stable, reliable and diverse supply of energy, Putnam added before thanking Rep. Scott Plakon, R-Longwood, and Rep. Seth McKeel, R-Lakeland.

On Thursday Putnam thanked the Senate for its part in the bill's success. With passage of Floridas energy bill in the Senate, were one step closer to increasing diversity in Floridas energy portfolio, expanding energy production and creating jobs for Floridians, he said.

Sen. Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando, who worked with Putnams offices on changes to the bill, has called the plan energy light compared to other recent efforts that have failed to advance through the Legislature.

The bill will expand renewable-energy production tax credits and allow local governments to use discretionary sales tax revenue to assist homeowners who make energy-efficiency improvements.

Putnam introduced the plan seeking to reduce the state's reliance on natural gas by advancing renewable-energy production, encouraging home-grown technologies and promoting greater energy efficiency.

Despite some last-minute concerns, language was not added to the bill on Thursday that would have allowed Florida Power & Light Co., the state's largest utility, and developer Syd Kitson to build Babcock Ranch -- a proposed solar-powered city near Fort Myers -- with the $300 million to $500 million tab being turned over to consumers, according to Putnams office.

The bill mediated in both chambers is the first comprehensive energy plan to be approved by the Legislature since former Gov. Charlie Crist introduced a plan in 2007 that called for sweeping reforms.

Many of Crists proposals have since remained dormant or required repeal.

Reach Jim Turner at jturner@sunshinestatenews.com and Kevin Derby at kderby@sunshinestatenews.com, or both at (772) 215-9889.

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