DeSantis signs bill removing climate change considerations from Florida law

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed legislation Wednesday removing the requirement for the state to consider climate change in crafting energy policy and excises nearly all references to climate change in Florida law.

The law, which passed the state Legislature in March and takes effect in July, also outlaws offshore wind turbines in Florida waters or the construction of offshore wind facilities within a mile of the state’s coastline. No such facilities currently exist in the state.

It also removes some hurdles to the approval of natural gas pipelines and removes language that authorizes state officials to set renewable energy goals.

In a post on social media platform X Wednesday afternoon, DeSantis touted the law and two others he signed as “restoring sanity in our approach to energy and rejecting the agenda of the radical green zealots.”

Environmental leaders blasted the new law and said it showed disregard for the environmental threats the state faces.

“It is extremely alarming that leaders in Tallahassee have eliminated statutory language that recognized the dangers of climate pollution, the importance of energy efficiency, and realities of increasing extreme weather events due to a warming planet,” Yoca Arditi-Rocha, executive director at the CLEO Institute, said in a statement.

“Floridians are on the frontlines of rising sea levels, rising extreme heat, rising property insurance prices, more frequent flooding, and more severe storms,” Arditi-Rocha continued. “This purposeful act of cognitive dissonance is proof that the Governor and the State Legislature are not acting in the best interests of Floridians, but rather to protect profits for the fossil fuel industry.”

The law comes after Florida saw its warmest year on record since 1895 last year, with a statewide annual average of 73.4 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the office of the state climatologist. The state has also seen a mass exodus of insurers, many of them citing high exposure to catastrophe costs.

While California has similarly seen a number of insurance pullouts due to increasingly volatile wildfire seasons, the Sunshine State has also rattled insurers with a combination of lawsuits and high fraud rates.

DeSantis has frequently engaged in wars of words with environmental advocates and, during his 2024 presidential campaign, said of Biden administration environmental policies, “I’m ripping it up and throwing it in the trash can where it belongs.”

However, like other Florida Republicans, he has also opposed offshore drilling in Florida, and in his first gubernatorial campaign in 2018 he opposed fracking, citing uncertain risks to Florida soil.

DeSantis’s then-primary rival, former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, aimed frequent barbs at the Florida governor over these positions. Earlier this year, he signed a law barring localities in the state from establishing their own heat protections for outdoor workers.

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