Crist considers unilateral action on energy

Gov. Charlie Crist said he’s still hopeful that there can be action in the legislative session on energy. But he also said he is considering again taking unilateral action on the issue.

The House refused to consider a bill he supported that would require utilities to produce at least 15 percent of their electricity from renewable energy by 2020. The legislative session was extended until Friday only to approve a budget or to resolve bills already approved by the House and Senate and assigned to a conference committee.

“There may yet be an opportunity,” Crist said. “I don’t know enough about it to tell you. You never give up hope.”

Crist in 2007 issued executive orders requiring reductions in greenhouse gas emissions to address climate change.

He directed the Public Service Commission to develop a rule requiring utilities to produce at least 20 percent of their energy from renewable sources. He also directed the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to propose a rule adopting California’s automobile emissions standards.

The PSC recommended a 20-percent renewable energy requirement in January. But it was scaled back to 15 percent in SB 1154. The Senate passed the measure but the House never took up the energy bill or legislation to adopt California’s auto emissions standards.

Asked whether he would consider taking unilateral action, Crist said. “I’ve considered that. Sometimes executive orders can be pretty effective too. We are trying to review that possibility.”

Although the Legislature rejected two main segments of his 2007 executive orders, Crist said, “I think we’ve moved a long way.”

Story and photo copyrighted by Bruce Ritchie and Please do not redistribute without permission.