2022 Florida Legislative Priorities

2022 Florida Legislative Priorities

Sierra Club Florida's 2022 legislative priorities focus on clean energy, land conservation, smart growth, water quality and quantity, democracy, state interference in local decision-making, and the budget. We support policies that recognize and preserve cultural and environmental community assets, and ensure that frontline communities do not suffer disproportionate negative impacts but do share in beneficial changes. We must address the existential threat of climate change and its impacts while considering equity, inclusion, and justice to create a healthier, more equitable future for all. 

● Climate change: Floridians' risk from stronger storms and sea-level rise caused by climate change is a function of both past and future emissions. Florida must reduce its use of fossil fuels now by transitioning to 100% renewable energy statewide before 2050, with 100% renewable energy used for all state-funded operations by 2035. We want to see solar incentivized/expanded, an end to the development of new fossil fuels and prioritization of electric vehicles and related infrastructure. 

● Land conservation: Left in their natural state, our lands keep an immense amount of climate pollution out of the atmosphere and provide economic and quality of life benefits. We need to keep our remaining undeveloped lands intact by preserving open spaces and wetlands, enhancing regional wildlife corridors, and avoiding fragmentation of habitat. We must acquire sufficient conservation land to ensure future generations’ ability to rely on sustainable ecosystem services, outdoor recreation lands, and wildlife/ landscape/ecotourism resources.

● Smart growth: Once a model for the nation, Florida’s growth management laws, having been gutted since 2011, now prioritize developers over residents. We must reinstitute state and regional oversight of growth management to promote economically prosperous, socially equitable, and environmentally sustainable communities. Florida also must become more resilient to the now unavoidable impacts of climate change. Land use must adapt to new environmental parameters, and policies must not force our most vulnerable communities to bear more than their share of the burden.

● Water quality and quantity: Current water quality and quantity statutes are full of loopholes and empty promises of restoration in 35 years. Florida must stop pollution at its source rather than cleaning it up after the fact, and limit permits to withdrawals that will not harm natural systems. Florida needs to appropriately regulate fertilizer, septic tanks, stormwater, and sewage systems, and address the problems that biosolids present.

 Democracy: We must protect and defend the most fundamental elements of our democracy for all Floridians by breaking down barriers to participation, ensuring that each of us has an equal voice and vote. We will defend and advocate for: voting rights, fair redistricting, the right to assemble, freedom of speech, citizen initiatives, and public participation in government decision-making.

● Environmentally appropriate home rule: Let local governments lead by allowing them to supplement state law with stricter restrictions to protect their own resources and constituents.
For more details, see our full 2022 legislative priorities document or view our presentation from the Florida Chapter's fall quarterly meeting.