Where the 2018 Candidates Stand on Energy: Republican Nominee for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis

Guest Blog | September 27, 2018 | Elections, Florida

This post is the fourteenth in a series of blogs examining where the 2018 candidates for state and federal offices in the Southeast stand on key energy and climate issues. To read the candidate profile for Democratic Nominee for Florida Governor Andrew Gillum, click here. To continue to track their stances on energy, you can watch two televised debates between DeSantis and Gillum on October 2 on Telemundo and October 16 on CNN. 

Note: The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy does not support or oppose candidates or political parties. Links to reports, candidate websites and outside sources are provided as citizen education tools.

Candidate: Ron DeSantis

Ron DeSantis is the Republican candidate in an open seat

for the Governor of Florida. He currently serves the 6th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. A Florida native, he was first elected to Congress in 2012.


DeSantis stated that he is not opposed to solar power and says to “let the market decide” if solar will do well. He also has said that he is opposed to giving “special subsidies to solar.”

Energy Efficiency

There is no mention of energy efficiency in Ron DeSantis’ campaign materials or publicly available information.

Clean Transportation

There was no mention of clean transportation or electric vehicles in Ron DeSantis’ campaign materials or publicly available information.

Fossil Fuels

Ron DeSantis stated in an interview that while offshore drilling might create a few jobs in that industry, the danger to Florida’s tourism-based economy outweighs any benefit. Therefore, he is opposed to offshore drilling off Florida’s coasts. However, in 2017 Ron DeSantis voted for the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which included a provision that permits oil drilling on 1.5 million acres in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and voted for the Offshore Energy and Jobs Act, which would have expanded the federal leasing program for offshore drilling. In 2013, he signed a letter to then-President Obama to encourage approval of the Keystone XL pipeline.

Climate Change

On climate change, Ron DeSantis recently stated that, “I certainly don’t think in Tallahassee, you know, we’re going to be able at the state level to do things that are really global in nature so that’s something that I think is more of a national and international issue.” He continued, “If you have water rising in, like Miami, we’ve got to do resiliency for that.” Finally, he said, “I don’t know if it’s because of my activity, your activity but if it’s there it’s there and we’ve got to deal with it.”

In another interview, while he stated that he would address sea level rise in Florida, DeSantis would not explicitly say whether he believes in climate change. He said, “I would say human activity contributes to changes in the environment. I am not a global warming person. I do not want that label on me.” DeSantis described himself as a “Teddy Roosevelt” conservationist with a desire to take care of the environment to protect its recreational benefits. He stated that Democrats are “getting carried away” about the effects of climate change and that “liberal policies aim to restrict Americans’ access to nature”.


There was no mention of nuclear power in Ron DeSantis’ campaign materials or publicly available information.

We encourage you to vote this November. Click here for voting resources provided by the Florida Division of Elections or click here to register online and request a vote-by-mail ballot.

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