By: Mike Vasilida | Capitol News Service
September 18, 2019
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Environmentalists in the state capitol are heralding a new day when it comes to discussing a changing climate.
The environmental community sees the election of new leaders as a giant step forward for the states environmental future.
On the day he took office, Governor Ron DeSantis made it clear he would start cleaning up the state’s waters.
"It doesn’t just drive tourism. It affects property values. It anchors many local economies,” said DeSantis in January.
On Tuesday, Rep. Chris Sprowls, the man designated to lead the Florida House after 2020, made it clear the environment was a top priority.
“We’ve need to stop being afraid of using words like climate change and sea level rise,” said Sprowls.
Environmentalists argue the state was set back a decade when Governor Scott who would respond, ‘I’m not a scientist,' when asked about climate change.
Now a band of Democrats want the state to set the goal of Florida using 100% renewable energy before 2050.
They believe they are going to get a hearing.
“And now is the time for bold action, and part of that action has to be setting goals,” said Rep. Ben Diamond.
Even the sponsors agree that getting the state to be 100 percent carbon neutral in just over 30 years is very ambitious but the Florida Conservation voters said it is the goal that matters.
"We need ambitious legislation right now because we are so far behind and this crisis is so dire,” said Jonathan Webber with FCV. "You can set any marker you want. We just need progress. I think a hundred percent by 2050 is a reasonable thing to do. If we can people on the moon in ten years we can get to renewable energy by 2050.”
Since taking office, the Governor has created two new posts, Chief Science Officer and Chief Resiliency Officer.
As another sign of the change, the governor spent a half a day when he was in Israel earlier this year meeting with water quality experts.