Published On: Sun, Mar 8th, 2015

Florida Conservative Environmentalists Accused by Republicans of Taking Tom Steyer’s Money

Conservatives for Energy Choice deny taking Steyer's dollars and that solar will be subsidized if the initiative passes

Tom Steyer

It is hard to imagine a debate over the politics of solar energy in America without Democrat Tom Steyer, one of the leading environmental political donors, being mentioned.

In this instance, Steyer’s name came up in a debate raging in Florida concerning a pro-solar energy ballot initiative which will give companies the right to sell solar energies directly to consumers rather than through utilities.

At odds are two conservative groups in Florida, Americans for Prosperity, which accuses Conservatives for Energy Freedom of “a campaign of deception” concerning subsidies and of taking money from Democrat Tom Steyer, as reported by Tampa Bay.com

Conservatives for Energy Freedom is part of a bi-partisan coalition, Floridians for Solar Choice, which an email from Americans for Prosperity accuses of being a “front group for the Southern Alliance of Clean Energy, ” and gets funding from Tom Steyer.

Tom Steyer was the largest individual donor in 2014, giving $73.7 million to environmental causes and candidates. Steyer, to many conservatives, represents what they see as hypocrisy among Democrats for criticizing the deep pockets of Republican donors, like the Koch brothers.

Steve Smith, director of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, told Tampa Bay.com, “There is no Tom Steyer money associated with this effort at this point.” Tony Perfetti, Florida director of Conservatives for Energy Freedom added, “This initiative will not mandate the purchase of solar, nor will you find anywhere in the ballot language anything which says that solar will be subsidized, so to say otherwise is foolish.”

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