74 Fla. L. Rev. 484 (2022)
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Environmental Law


This Note addresses the battle between Florida legislators and local governments over the environmental ordinances local governments can enact. Florida state legislators and private industries have frequently used the preemption doctrine to strike down local governments’ environmental ordinances. This Note looks at three areas where that battle is currently taking place or is expected to take place: the regulation of single-use plastics, the granting of rights to nature, and fracking. Seeing the lack of success that Florida’s local governments have had, this Note turns to the rest of the United States to examine how local governments can better respond. Three lessons that stand out are the importance of prioritizing public education, avoiding overlapping state permits and regulations, and framing local ordinances as zoning matters. This Note brings these lessons back to Florida and uses them to develop strategies that Florida local governments could use to advance their environmental ordinances or the goals behind them. These strategies focus on using public education to gain public and constitutional support, rooting the goals of local environmental ordinances in the traditional functions of local governments, and framing local ordinances primarily as zoning matters.