• Business Business

Florida advances bill to ban offshore wind turbines despite not having any — here's why that matters

"In some sense, they're not banning anything right now."

"In some sense, they’re not banning anything right now."

Photo Credit: iStock

Florida lawmakers have banned wind turbines off its shores and near the coast, saying the bill is meant to protect wildlife and prevent noise.

What happened?

In early March 2024, the Florida House voted to pass a bill that will ban wind turbines offshore and on land within 1 mile of the coast and the Intracoastal Waterway. The bill also passed the Senate and was later sent to Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Though the bill aroused little discussion, according to WMNF 88.5 FM, one Republican lawmaker said the ban was designed to protect wildlife and ecosystems and prevent noise pollution. Another said that large-scale wind energy is not viable in Florida. 

The state currently has zero wind turbines, per the Tampa Bay Times, and it does not receive long, sustained winds (at least on land). Some Democrats questioned the ban, however, saying that technologies evolve, per WMNF

The bill would also revise state law by scrubbing verbiage related to the reduction of planet-warming pollution and the adoption of more renewable energy.

Why is this legislation concerning?

"Right now it's not a big deal, but as the technology evolves and changes — which it has been doing very, very rapidly — there may be a day when offshore wind makes sense in Florida," Erin Baker, the faculty director of the Energy Transition Institute at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, told the Tampa Bay Times. "In some sense, they're not banning anything right now. They're banning future wind [energy], which could be 10 times better."

In the long run, limiting the production of clean, renewable energy endangers communities in several ways. Traditional energy sources like natural gas and coal spew pollution into the air, which can cause severe health impacts like early death, heart attacks, respiratory disorders, stroke, and asthma, according to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

They also contribute to the overheating of our planet, which can have detrimental consequences for communities, as it supercharges natural disasters, making them more frequent and severe. 

Florida is especially susceptible to events like hurricanes and coastal flooding. For instance, in August 2023, Hurricane Idalia brought catastrophic flooding to the state after the storm surge broke records in some areas. Hundreds of thousands of people in Florida and Georgia were left without power. 

🗣️ Do you want a giant wind farm in your state?

🔘 YES 👍

🔘 NO 👎

🗳️ Click your choice to see results and speak your mind

"Florida is ground zero for climate disasters," Sen. Tina Polsky, a Democrat representing Boca Raton, said during a Senate committee meeting in February, according to WMNF. "We are surrounded by water, and the effects are showing."

What is being done about our warming planet?

The good news is that many governments and scientists are working to combat rising global temperatures. 

For instance, Wales is banning most new roadway projects to cut down on carbon pollution. And massive denominational churches, like the Presbyterian Church, are cutting financial ties to dirty energy. Plus, towns in rural Virginia are adding over 1 million new jobs by focusing on clean energy instead of coal.

You can do your part by voting for pro-environment candidates and advocating for government officials to support climate-friendly policies. Small actions like riding your bike to work and signing up for community solar can also make a positive impact. 

Join our free newsletter for cool news and actionable info that makes it easy to help yourself while helping the planet.

Cool Divider