Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Blocks Energy Rebates and Federal Funding, Sparking Controversy and Disappointment

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has recently vetoed energy rebates for consumers in the state, along with the Republican governors of Iowa and South Dakota. These rebates would have provided funding to lower energy bills, specifically targeting low-income households. DeSantis’s veto of the legislature’s request meant turning down $5 million to establish a rebate program for consumers who purchase energy-efficient appliances and retrofit their homes.[0] This decision also effectively blocked $341 million in funding for the program because the state would need administrative money to apply for it.[1]

However, federal Energy Department rules allow states to accept the second pot of money even if they don’t take the first.[1] If Florida doesn’t apply for the full $346 million by next August, the law allows the Department of Energy to provide Florida’s money to other states.[1] This veto by Governor DeSantis goes largely unnoticed but signals his likely rejection of more than $346 million in federal money for direct-to-consumer rebates for residential building upgrades.[2]

The $5 million grant that was vetoed was intended to go towards the cost of managing the High-Efficiency Electric Home Rebate (HEEHR) and the Home Owner Managing Energy Savings (HOMES) programs in Florida.[3] These programs aimed to distribute energy-efficient rebates to lower- and moderate-income homeowners, helping them with energy-efficiency home improvements and the purchase of energy-efficient appliances.

Governor DeSantis’s veto of the grant is seen as a rejection of energy-efficiency incentives under the Inflation Reduction Act, a key policy of the Biden administration. This move by DeSantis sets him apart as the only governor to block energy rebates, although other Republican leaders have declined smaller sums for similar climate-fighting projects.[4]

The White House has expressed disappointment with DeSantis’s decision, stating that it is unfortunate that some officials are putting politics ahead of delivering meaningful progress for hard-working Americans.[4] Despite this setback, President Biden and his administration are working with various entities in Florida to ensure that Floridians still benefit from lower costs and a stronger economy.[4]

The administration believes that Florida ultimately wants the rebate funding, as evidenced by the state’s energy office requesting it and the state legislature approving it before DeSantis’s veto.[5] However, states must apply for their share of the $8.8 billion in federal funds allocated for the rebates, and there is a possibility that some states may choose to opt out.[6]

In addition to vetoing the energy rebates, Governor DeSantis also rejected $3 million in funding to help the state fight pollution and a program that would have provided assistance to low-income residents in accessing solar panels. He also vetoed $24 million in grants from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.[1]

While administration officials express confidence that Florida residents will eventually gain access to the rebates, they believe that DeSantis may wait until after the Republican primary or even the 2024 general election before reversing his decision.[4] Critics argue that DeSantis’s actions are making the state more vulnerable and that other majority Republican states have not made such foolish decisions.[4]

In conclusion, Governor Ron DeSantis’s veto of energy rebates for Florida consumers, along with his rejection of federal funding for energy-efficient programs, has sparked controversy and disappointment. The impact of these decisions on Florida’s residents and the state’s efforts to combat climate change remains to be seen.

0. “The Cost of Ron DeSantis’s Ideological Purity” The Atlantic, 4 Sep. 2023, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2023/09/desantis-rejects-ira-federal-funding-florida/675216/

1. “DeSantis is refusing Biden’s IRA money – POLITICO” POLITICO, 30 Aug. 2023, https://www.politico.com/news/2023/08/30/desantis-refuses-biden-climate-ira-money-00113397

2. “DeSantis Nixes IRA Rebates for Florida Residents” ACHR NEWS, 4 Sep. 2023, https://www.achrnews.com/articles/153536-desantis-nixes-ira-rebates-for-florida-residents

3. “IRA Rebate Rebellion?” ACHR NEWS, 25 Aug. 2023, https://www.achrnews.com/articles/153504-ira-rebate-rebellion

4. “DeSantis refuses $350m from Biden’s climate fund to help Florida residents with energy rebates” The Telegraph, 30 Aug. 2023, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2023/08/30/ron-desantis-refuses-350m-biden-climate-fund-florida-help/

5. “Ron DeSantis rejects $350 MILLION from Biden for energy-efficient initiatives to make homes more green and to” Daily Mail, 31 Aug. 2023, https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-12465895/Ron-DeSantis-rejects-350-MILLION-Biden-energy-Inflation-reduction-act.html

6. “Guess which state is opting out of energy-savings rebate program because it’s ‘woke’” Miami Herald, 2 Sep. 2023, https://www.miamiherald.com/news/business/real-estate-news/article278782484.html

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