TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, in direct contradiction with the free-market principles he espouses, Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law HB3, “Government and Corporate Activism”, legislation that gives the government sweeping authority into Florida’s financial sector. Specifically, the law bans the use of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) in the state’s procurement and fiscal processes - effectively forcing Florida’s municipalities to make irresponsible investment decisions with taxpayer money.
Sierra Club Florida repeatedly warned against HB3 during the legislative session, and sent the governor a letter urging him to veto the bill. Nevertheless, DeSantis has clung to the legislation as he struggles to stay relevant in the mainstream media ahead of his widely expected presidential campaign. ESG, which has been a long-standing business practice for over 20 years, only just recently started to draw the interest of politicians like DeSantis at the behest of the fossil fuel industry, after a few major banks stopped financing new coal projects. By denouncing common sense investment principles as a “woke” conspiracy, HB3 pushes a new, crude form of climate denial that fundamentally stifles Florida’s economy, and delays the inevitable transition to renewable energy that is already underway.
From forcing the state to cut ties with major banks, to prohibiting municipalities from raising green bonds, to preventing pension funds from assessing climate risks in their investment strategy, DeSantis’ latest political stunt will be expensive, and Florida’s retirees and taxpayers will bear the cost. Ron DeSantis may like to present himself as an environmental hero, but HB3 further underscores that his “accomplishments” largely amount to empty gestures, while any tangible action he does take is often at odds with his own policies.
Luigi Guadarrama, Political Director of Sierra Club Florida said, “After relentlessly touting his ‘environmental’ agenda, Ron DeSantis has passed a law that blocks his own resiliency claims by locking local governments out of a $2 trillion bond market for environmental projects. He has built his career on stunts like HB3 rather than actually governing, and is quickly finding out that his political theater fails on the national stage. Attacking the free market because you don’t like that consumers want more sustainable investments has no place here, and America is watching.”
James Scott, Chair of Sierra Club Florida’s Executive Committee said, “Governor DeSantis has once again failed Florida with his Irresponsible Investing Act. Even with most Floridians, including 70 percent of his own party, in disagreement, the governor has pushed ahead with the bill for the sake of his own ambitions. Waging this attack on public servants and pensioners is a drastic mistake, and will have irreparable consequences on our environment, economy, and residents.”
ABOUT SIERRA CLUB FLORIDA: Founded in 1892, the Sierra Club is the oldest and largest environmental advocacy organization in the nation. The Florida Chapter of the Sierra Club boasts over 240,000 members and supporters committed to exploring, enjoying, and protecting the wild places of the earth. To learn more about Sierra Club Florida, click here.