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2012 session summary: Energy and Utilities

Photo Credit: redjar

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam said soon after the start of the legislative session that when it came to energy issues, he planned to "under-promise and over-deliver." The Legislature since 2008 had been unable to pass comprehensive energy legislation that supporters said would provide jobs through expanding the use of renewable energy. The Legislature in 2011 moved the Florida energy office from under the governor to Putnam at the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. In January, Putnam offered 11 policy proposals to the House and Senate energy committees and most of them made it into HB 7117. At  the end of the 2012 session, Putnam had delivered what he and legislators described as "modest" energy bill, now headed to the governor. Some renewable energy supporters are disappointed that stronger legislation didn't pass and that HB 7117 eliminates direction in state law to establish renewable energy requirements for utilities. House Republicans and Democrats alike and representatives of the Florida Municipal Electric Association and the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy praised Putnam for showing leadership on the issue. Bills involving oil and gas production and ethanol fuels failed to pass but the bill language was included in other legislation.

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