Energy Advocates Push for Renewables in Florida

Lieutenant General John Castellaw, United States Marine Corps Ret., Thursday urged the Florida Legislature to invest in renewable energy, energy conservation and efficiency.

At a press conference at the Capitol building, Castellaw praised renewable energy as a cheaper way to power the state.

“We want to have energy that is affordable and at the same time have an environment that we will all be a part of,” Castellaw said, asking for long-term, statewide commitments to sustainability.

Energy independence and diversification are serious national security issues, said Castellaw and other energy advocates. Reducing foreign imports means the U.S. becomes less dependent on the volatile, global fossil fuel market.

Securing Florida’s energy future is about national and economic security, according to Rep. Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda, D-Tallahassee, who has been pushing for this effort in Florida.

“We live in a state that has the potential for renewable energy and conservation that outshines the other 49 states,” said Vasilinda. “We have everything it takes to be number one in renewable energy, conservation and efficiency.”

Vasilinda added that this effort could secure jobs for returning war veterans. “We have veterans coming back to the states who need employment. These veterans have a expertise in making energy efficient improvements, so a growing energy industry in Florida is a perfect solution,” said Vasilinda.

Rep. Vasilinda, Lt. Gen. Castellaw, the Truman National Security Project and other renewable energy advocates push for substantial investment in renewable energy as well as energy conservation and efficiency.

Florida A&M student and regional organizer Reamonn Soto touted renewable energy as a way to ensure the long-term viability of the country. “This is our chance to take a step in the 21st century and secure our energy future and secure our national security,” said Soto.

Already, the state capital has been forward-thinking about cutting down on consumer energy use. “Tallahassee has an aggressive program on ‘demand-side management,’ which helps people use less energy,” said Susan K. Glickman, a climate and energy advocate.

But Florida can do more. “We are working on changing the laws to impact the whole state. We send about 50 billion dollars out of state every year for fuel, about 17 billion for the electric side and 32 billion on the transportation side,” said Glickman.

Glickman advised “students at FAMU and all young people” to make personal steps to reduce consumption and ensure sustainability in the state.

“You’re going to be ushering in this complete paradigm shift about how we create energy and consume energy,” said Glickman. “Start taking action by recycling, turning up your thermostat and changing your air filter.”

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