The Florida Solar Amendment: Written by Industry Lobbyists to Confuse Voters

By David Grasso, GenFKD

In just a few weeks, voters will weigh passing a constitutional known as Amendment 1, known as the Florida solar amendment. Unfortunately, constitutional amendments in the Sunshine State have a long history of being intentionally confusing, and this year’s solar amendment is proving to be no different.

Critics hate Amendment 1 because it appears to be pro-solar, when in reality, it outlaws any sort of subsidies for solar power, including one voters passed just this year. Most Florida papers have pointed out on their editorial pages that Amendment 1 is a con job masquerading as a pro-solar initiative.

Reality is stranger than fiction in Florida

In the past, Florida voters have given the thumbs up to whatever random amendment is on the ballot, including designating certain cage sizes for pregnant pigs and approving an amendment requiring a high speed train system, only to vote yes to remove the very same requirement four years later. This year, utility lobbyists made sure their amendment, instead of the solar lobby’s proposed amendment, was on the ballot for voters to approve.

The case for solar power

Today, Florida’s energy is overwhelmingly generated by natural gas and coal, which aren’t exactly great for the environment. While the state has been using more natural gas than ever, which is less polluting than coal, renewable energy like solar only supplies about 2% of the state’s energy needs. That percentage will need to grow because of our nation’s commitment to cut carbon emissions in the face of climate change. Florida is especially put at risk by sea-level rises due to the changing climate, and should do its part to limit its carbon dioxide emissions.

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