Florida Officials Ponder Energy Options

By  | 

Gov. Jeb Bush tried to set an example when he got rid of his Ford Expedition in favor of a hybrid Escape. Several state agencies now use hybrids to save fuel, but fewer than one in 1,000 Floridians drive alternative fuel vehicles.

Gov. Jeb Bush says, "We’ve got a lot of work of work to do in this state. We consume more per capital than the national average and we need to create a conservation strategy that’s second to none."

During an energy forum at the Capitol, the governor said the point was driven home when our eight hurricanes cut off fuel supplies and electricity to millions. Jeb Bush says Florida needs to look at expanding nuclear power, hydrogen cell technology, even making ethanol for sugar cane, but he says he won’t support drilling for oil and natural gas right off the state’s shores.

Gov. Jeb Bush says, "I think it would be hypocritical not to be promoting alternative sources of energy at the same time you’re promoting no drilling off our shores. You can’t have it both ways."

Environmentalists call that misleading. The governor is backing a compromise bill in Washington that allows drilling within 150 miles of the coast. Brad Ashwell with Florida Public Interest Research Group applauds the governor’s pursuit of alternative energy sources.

Brad Ashwell says, "But I think it’s absurd that we can’t rule out jeopardizing Florida’s pristine Gulf waters and our marine life, our multi million-dollar tourism industry."

The drilling debate will be decided in Washington. In the meantime, Jeb Bush wants a new statewide energy policy on his desk by next month.

The governor’s office says Florida will need nearly 60 percent more electricity in the next 15 years.