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4.21.2016

Florida Power and Light, the Governor and Cabinet are told 'You Gotta Follow the Rules"


AP Photo/Lynne Sladky
A District Court of Appeal told FPL that it really does has to comply with environmental regulations meant to protect the Everglades and endangered birds.  

This ruling does not mean the project is dead, but that it must be reworked to comply with rules that require new power lines to be buried and service roads would need ways to allow water flow. This project was approved in May 2014 as part of an approval for two proposed new nuclear reactors at the Turkey Point site.

In its ruling, the Third District Court of Appeal found the governor and the Cabinet — acting as the state siting board, which oversees power plants — failed to consider the city of Miami’s development rules when it signed off on allowing the utility to string 88 miles of line atop towers standing 80 to 150 feet high.

It also failed to take into account the damage done to wildlife and Everglades marshes by buildings roads and concrete pads in a corridor that would cross fragile wetlands.

According to the Miami Herald, the "ruling effectively puts an end to a wetlands corridor for the transmission lines. In reviewing the Everglades corridor, the judges said the siting board failed to consider Miami-Dade County’s environmental rules. And even if they had, the court found FPL “presented no competent, substantial evidence,” to justify over-riding them."
“The court agreed with the county that the record in this case did not show that FPL’s transmission line corridor could satisfy the rigorous environmental requirements."

In a Follow the Money Moment, the Herald also pointed out that Florida Power and Light "has spent $17 million in campaign contributions to influence politicians and the political process in the last six years. Of that, $3.9 million went to political committees for Associated Industries and Florida Chamber of Commerce, which then transferred FPL money to the political committees of Scott and Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, Attorney General Pam Bondi and Agriculture Secretary Adam Putnam.

FPL has also given $805,000 directly to Scott's Let's Get to Work Political Committee and $50,000 to Bondi's Justice for All political committee.

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