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Florida Lawmakers Want Greenhouse Gas Emissions To Be Regulated

 Florida Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services Nikki Fried supports both SB 1362 and HB 993, which each seek to lower the state's carbon emissions.
Florida Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services Nikki Fried supports both SB 1362 and HB 993, which each seek to lower the state's carbon emissions.

Measures in the Florida House and Senate seek to create rules over and require inventories of greenhouse gas emissions. State lawmakers, Florida’s agriculture commissioner and a rancher held a joint press conference to highlight the bills on Wednesday.

The state Senate bill would require the Office of Energy, in consultation with certain state entities and officers, to develop rules that meet certain requirements for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

It would also direct the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, in coordination with the Department of Management Services and the Department of Environmental Protection, to develop and maintain a greenhouse gas registry and inventory.

Sen. Tina Polsky, D-Boca Raton, sponsors the measure. She said there will be emission reporting deadlines for entities that receive state funding, under her legislation.

"January 2022 for all state governments. January 2024 for all local governments, universities and colleges. January 2025 for all electric utilities, natural gas utilities, and large businesses which operate over 1,000 vehicles or have over 500,000 square feet of space," said Polsky.

Rep. Kelly Skidmore, D-Boca Raton, has a companion bill in the state House that would create a Resilient Farms Pilot Program for farmers to trap carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through planting, and retain that carbon in the soil by not tilling the land.

RELATED: 'Carbon Farming' Could Soon Be New Cash Crop For Florida Growers

"It aims to promote resilient land management, to promote soil health, maximize carbon capture, and reduce farm emissions," said Skidmore.

Jim Strickland, a Myakka City cattle rancher and co-chair of the Florida Climate Smart Agriculture Work Group, voiced his support of the legislation at the press conference.

“We are at ground zero,” he said. “We right now are looking at carbon, we're looking at carbon sequestration.”

Strickland also introduced a couple of climate-conscious agriculture developments on his radar: one, using probiotics to see if that accelerates the carbon sequestration percentages. And two, a project regarding methane, of which he did not elaborate.

Florida Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services Nikki Fried backs these state measures and said that they go along with the efforts of the White House to combat climate change.

RELATED: The Science Behind 'Carbon Farming' To Combat Global Warming

The Biden administration has also been talking about paying farmers to sequester carbon, and Fried has sent a proposal to the president requesting a public-private partnership.

"This is a great opportunity to really advance energy and climate and water and carbon solutions. The administration understands the climate crisis, and we will continue to be working with the administration on some of these issues," said Fried.

“Together in our collaborative effort between our state and our local communities and our federal partnership and our private partnerships, we know that we can keep Florida growing.”

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 Florida Sen. Tina Polsky, D-Boca Raton, speaking at a press conference about her Senate Bill 1362 to regulate carbon emissions in an effort to reduce them.
The Florida Channel /
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Florida Sen. Tina Polsky, D-Boca Raton, speaking at a press conference about her Senate Bill 1362 to regulate carbon emissions in an effort to reduce them.
 Rep. Kelly Skidmore, D-Boca Raton, speaking about her House Bill 993 to create a pilot program for agriculturalists to combat climate change through carbon sequestration.
The Florida Channel /
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Rep. Kelly Skidmore, D-Boca Raton, speaking about her House Bill 993 to create a pilot program for agriculturalists to combat climate change through carbon sequestration.
Jim Strickland, a cattle rancher with the Florida Climate Smart Agriculture Work Group, said he supports SB 1362 and HB 993.
The Florida Channel /
/
Jim Strickland, a cattle rancher with the Florida Climate Smart Agriculture Work Group, said he supports SB 1362 and HB 993.