Monday, December 24, 2007

The Miami Herald and FPL--silent night, by gimleteye

The Miami Herald editorial board writes today about the water crisis in allocating scarce water resources among three southeastern states—and especially Georgia, where extreme drought conditions could turn many Atlantans into climate refugees, “any plan -- in dry and wet years -- should incorporate mandatory conservation measures for all who depend on the watershed. Atlanta needs this water as much as, but not any more than, Apalachicola's oyster industry. They both must act to conserve it.”

Fair enough. But the same is true of conservation relative to the generation of electric power. Last week the Miami Herald had the chance to say so, before the controversial zoning hearing where the county commission granted FPL a special use permit for two new nuclear reactors at Turkey Point. The Herald editorial board has been quiet as a mouse on the night before Christmas.

The first policy goal of Florida with respect to power generation should be conservation.

That hasn’t happened for the same reason that in the past water management districts haven’t demanded conservation: because the Growth Machine depends on more consumption, more construction, more profits. It is the profit model that also sells more advertisements in newspapers.

The heart of conservation is increased productivity from existing asset bases.

At the county commission, only Katy Sorenson raised any of the larger questions about productivity and efficiency and environmental stewardship.

(She endured the disrespect of fellow commissioners like Natacha Seijas, who couldn't be bothered. Apparently, Seijas was properly briefed by FPL lobbyists--unlike the contretemps earlier in the week involving the expansion of the CRA's and billions for pet projects.)

Now that the county allowed the zoning issue to squirt from its grasp, FPL and its lobbying wealth will descend on the Public Service Commission.

It is up to the Public Service Commission to do the right thing and set aside the FPL application, by insisting first that every measure for conservation be exhausted by industry before any new nuclear capacity is added in the state.

A good start would be for the Florida legislature to set ground rules for utilities to earn more profit per unit through conservation than through standard operations.

FPL touts its record as the largest producer of wind power in the United States and that it is leading advancements in the application of solar power, as well. The company is investing billions and believes that meeting the challenges of the crisis in climate change is a priority of the highest order.

But there are so many unanswered questions about the Turkey Point expansion plan—especially the issues of water and land fill for a site at sea level—it is a shame that the company is investing so much time and energy and so much expense that the project—to cost rate payers in the tens of billions of dollars over time—is acquiring a life of its own.

It makes me wonder if the same FPL Chief Executive Officer, Lewis Hayes, who stood recently arm-in-arm with Bill Clinton and Governor Charlie Crist knows what his Miami-Dade executives are doing.

FPL claimed, last week, that it has looked at the numbers and decided that it wont be able to meet future demand through any combination of new energy or conservation.

Absent energy reform at the state level, that may be true but it is no reason for the state to allow a business model that harms the public interest and no reason for the Miami Herald to remain silent.


Anonymous said...

Let's get back to something really scary, The Port Tunnel Project.....

Fiery Calif. pileup kills at least 2
Posted on Sat, Oct. 13, 2007
Associated Press Writer

Gus Ruelas / AP Photo
The Interstate 5 freeway is closed in both directions at the Newhall Pass Saturday Oct. 13, 2007, as the truck route tunnel still smolders after a 15-truck pileup on the rain-slicked Golden State Freeway in northern Los Angeles County in Santa Clarita, Calif., late Friday.
» More Photos
• Los Angeles County Fire Inspector Jason Hurd says it was a horrific scene.
• 5 trucks burn in Calif. freeway tunnel
A late-night crash in a Southern California freeway tunnel quickly turned into a fiery, chain-reaction pileup that mangled several trucks, killed at least two people and shut down the key north-south route as the wreckage burned into Saturday.
The crash late the night before involved an estimated 15 big rigs and possibly one or more passenger cars and sent people fleeing for their lives from the flaming tunnel. At least five of the trucks burst into flames, and the fire spread to the others. Ten people were injured.
"It looked like a bomb went off," said Los Angeles County firefighter Scott Clark, one of about 300 firefighters who battled the blaze through the night.
The bodies of two crash victims were found in the tunnel Saturday, said California Highway Patrol Officer David Porter. He couldn't immediately say whether one of them was a trucker listed as missing.
Firefighters could find more bodies as they explored the charred tunnel Saturday, said Los Angeles County Fire Department Inspector Ron Haralson.
The pileup in the southbound truck tunnel of Interstate 5 began about 11 p.m. Friday when two big rigs collided on the rain-slickened highway about 30 miles north of downtown Los Angeles. As crashes continued throughout the tunnel, which is about an eighth of a mile long, five tractor-trailers burst into flames, and the fire quickly spread.
Firefighters estimated that at least 15 trucks were involved. The cause of the initial crash was being investigated, but authorities said it was raining at the time.
The charred skeletons of at least a half-dozen big rigs peeked out of the tunnel's south end Saturday. At least one was carrying produce, and a smoldering load of cabbage lay on the pavement. A pile of scorched truck debris protruded from a tunnel wall.
State transportation workers brought in heavy equipment and were helping firefighters haul away the blackened, twisted debris, Haralson said.
As the fire spread Friday night, flames shot out of both ends of the tunnel, rising as high as 100 feet into the air, firefighters at the scene said.
The intense heat caused concrete to crack and melt, sending chucks falling onto a road below throughout the night. Firefighters worried that the damage could cause parts of the tunnel to collapse, particularly if cars were allowed back onto a road that runs above it.
Interstate 5 is a key West Coast route running from Mexico to Canada, as well as a major commuter link between Los Angeles and its northern suburbs. There are likely to be huge traffic jams in the area if it is still closed when people return to work Monday.
By Saturday afternoon, all of the flames appeared to have been extinguished, and firefighters went inside.
The canyon surrounding the tunnel remained filled with thick, acrid smoke, however, and until they examined the wreckage, firefighters said, they wouldn't be able to tell whether any trucks had been hauling toxic chemicals.
Shortly after the crash, 20 people managed to escape the fiery tunnel on foot, including the 10 injured. Eight were reported to have minor injuries and two had moderate injuries. All were treated at hospitals, mainly for burns and neck and back injuries.
Although the tunnel is designed to carry truck traffic through a mountain pass area, Fire Inspector Jason Hurd said passenger cars may also use it, raising concerns that some might have been trapped inside.
"We're going to have to do a very methodical search," Tripp said. "There could be, unfortunately, more people that were not able to escape."
Hurd couldn't say when authorities might be able to reopen the section of freeway about 30 miles north of downtown Los Angeles.
"It could be another day, it could be days, it could be weeks," he said.
The section of freeway was shut down twice before, by earthquakes in 1971 and 1994, when large overpasses over canyons collapsed. The worst of the quakes, the Northridge quake of 1994, also damaged another nearby highway, snarling traffic throughout the area.
Interstate 5 doesn't run directly to San Francisco but is still a major north-south route.

Anonymous said...

FPL is a run away freight train. And our commissioners are on board.

Geniusofdespair said...


Are you getting the impression that no one gives a shit about the Turkey Point plans? I have that impression. WAKE UP PEOPLE!