Sequoyah Nuclear Power Plant near Chattanooga, Tennessee Photorush, CC BY-SA 3.0 Photorush

Florida’s right-wing Governor Ron DeSantis has vetoed a bill designed to kill solar power in Florida.

But “progressive” Governor Gavin Newsom is standing by as pro-utility regulators embrace new taxes and metering restrictions set to devastate California’s solar industry.

Newsom is also supporting prolonged operations at the high-cost Diablo Canyon nuclear plant, which is surrounded by active earthquake faults near San Luis Obispo.

DeSantis and Newsom could face off in the 2024 race for the White House.

DeSantis is an extreme pro-corporate social conservative known nationwide for his bigoted “Don’t Say Gay” pubic school mandate. He’s primarily identified by his MAGA-style attacks on human rights, voter access, democracy, abortion rights, social justice and more.

In most mainstream polls, DeSantis now runs a strong second to Donald Trump for the Republican 2024 presidential nomination. He’s already raised tens of millions of dollars and built a high national media profile.

In late April, DeSantis became a green hero of sorts by killing a utility-sponsored bill meant to raise taxes on rooftop solar panel installations. “We are thrilled and encouraged and heartened and ecstatic and validated,” said Vote Solar director Katie Chiles Ottenweller. “This has been a long, bitter fight to protect solar rights in Florida.”

Polls show more than 80% of Floridians in opposition to the anti-solar legislation, with less than 5% support. Some 11,000 Floridians work for more than 400 solar companies in the Sunshine State.

DeSantis has also won green kudos by supporting measures to save the Everglades. Florida’s treasured “River of Grass” has been ravaged for decades by sugar and other agricultural and real estate interests.

For now, the extremely well-funded incumbent is in a challenging re-election fight with the popular former Governor Charlie Crist. Once a Republican, the moderate Crist comes with notable pro-solar and pro-Everglades credibility, a factor DeSantis must account for in the fall election.

Should he beat Crist and establish his own green credentials to balance his otherwise reactionary policies, DeSantis could become a uniquely effective national candidate, especially as Newsom moves in the opposite direction.

Meanwhile, more than 70,000 Californians work in wind and solar. More than a million rooftop installations help power the campaign against climate change in the world’s sixth-largest economy.

But utility-sponsored demands for anti-solar taxes and regulations like those DeSantis vetoed are being used to slam California’s green industries. Newsom’s refusal to shut them down has infuriated the green community, including tens of thousands of solar workers involved with billions of dollars worth of stalled projects.

Newsom is also supporting attempts to extend operations at Diablo Canyon’s dangerously decrepit reactors.

A broad coalition involving labor unions, local citizens, state regulators, environmental groups and then-Governor Jerry Brown finalized in September, 2018, a landmark deal to phase out Units One and Two in 2024 and 2025.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has rated Unit One among the most dangerously embrittled of all remaining 92 US nukes. NRC site inspector Dr. Michael Peck warned the Diablo reactors can’t withstand a credible earthquake from the dozen nearby fault lines, or from the San Andreas, a mere 45 miles away.

Between its reactors and spent fuel polls, an explosion at Diablo could send apocalyptic radioactive clouds far worse than Chernobyl’s pouring into Los Angeles, the Central Valley and/or the Bay Area, none of which could be effectively evacuated. Tens of millions of lives would be threatened, destroying the state’s ecology and economy.

As Newsom stands by while regulators decimate cheap rooftop solar, Diablo’s juice costs $3.5 million/day above market prices. Shutting it would save ratepayers more than $1 billion/year, freeing more than enough resources to fully replace the reactors’ capacity with solar, wind, batteries and efficiency.

The California Governor’s anti-green stances have deeply alienated a significant core of his progressive supporters, polluting his newborn campaign for the White House as he undermines both the planet and his image.

That he’d betray the global ecology while Ron DeSantis appears to support it could spark a backlash from which his presidential aspirations—-and Earth itself—-might not recover.


Harvey Wasserman’s PEOPLE’S SPIRAL OF US HISTORY is at and on line. Most Mondays he co-convenes the Green Grassroots Emergency Election Protection zoom via

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