Generators Proposals Gain Power

Two bills in Fla. legislature

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Democrats in the Florida legislature have proposed a bill to require new or renovated gas stations to have generators to avoid the gasoline crunch seen after hurricanes due to power outages, reported the Associated Press. A version of that plan has also already been proposed by Republicans.

A bill (HB 319) sponsored by House Democratic Leader Chris Smith of Fort Lauderdale and cosponsored by State Senator Steve Geller (D) would require station owners to buy a generator when they build a new station or anytime they do substantial [image-nocss] repairs.

Republicans have also proposed a measure (SB 530) that would require stations to have generators, but their bill, sponsored by State Sen. Jeff Atwater (R) and State Representative Anitere Flores (R), would require all stations to comply, not just new ones or those making renovations. The Republican billwhich is more likely to move with the GOP overwhelmingly in control of the Legislaturegives stations until Dec. 1, 2007, to comply.

The issue is grounded in the lengthy gas lines South Floridians faced following Hurricane Wilma, when widespread power outages left stations with fuel, but no way to get it out of the ground. Some hurricane victims waited entire days in line, hoping to get gasoline if power was restored, only to be left with an empty tank and a car they could not move.

Gasoline dealers have indicated that they object to being forced to install generators, saying as private businesses, that should be a business decision they make. Other businesses, such as grocery stores, are not required to provide their own power in a blackout and neither bill would change that.

Both proposals are still in the early stages of the legislative process, and despite popular sentiment, could face a difficult time in the full legislature, said AP.