Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Mayor Cindy Lerner, on Facebook: FPL fights to over-ride local government thanks to Miami-Dade state senator Frank Artiles

For those of you who joined in the fight against FPL and their devious efforts to deprive us of Solar access and expansion last year with the No on 1 amendment; we fought and won!

Well FPL is at it again, on another issue that some of us have been fighting for many years; that is the Power plant siting act and their efforts to run industrial size Transmission lines through our neighborhoods and through the Everglades!

The Cities of Miami, South Miami and Pinecrest took them to Court and won. We are finding that our last vestiges of justice these days is with the Judicial branch of government, isn't that the truth! But in an act of incredible hubris, FPL has just filed bills in the Florida legislature, (SB 1048 and HB 1055) to do an end run around our Appellate Court, ( upheld by the FL S CT.). Court victory, and they are racing through the legislature. They would allow the utilities to ignore local government planning and zoning codes that are there to protect our neighborhoods from over reaching by utilities.

You can blame Sen Frank Artiles for standing with FPL and advancing their agenda!

We must unite to FIGHT against the FPL agenda once again. Please contact the Senate Community Affairs committee (Chair is Sen Tom Lee, the bill's Sponsor). Hearing these bills tomorrow , Wednesday.

Also on that committee is my own wonderful Senator, Sen Jose Javier Rodriquez, who has been supporting our side of the fight all along, and Sen Daphne Campbell who unfortunately already voted for FPL previously. Let her hear from you!!

Also let your own legislators know how you feel.

The bills are described below.
1. SB 1048 and HB 1055 limit the ability of local governments protect the health, safety, and welfare of its residents.
a. It expands “development” exceptions thereby no longer requiring the utility companies to comply with local land use and development requirements because construction and operation of power plants and transmission lines are no longer considered “development.”
b. Allows utility companies to be granted variances for the following reason:
“To relieve or prevent hardship of a kind other than those provided for in paragraphs (a) and (b). Variances and renewals thereof granted under authority of this paragraph shall each be limited to a period of 24 months, except that variances granted pursuant to part II may extend for the life of the permit or certification.”
This is a “catch all” provisions that sets no real standards on how to determine whether a variance should be granted and allows for variances to be granted for any reason and can allow
c. The intent of the Power Plant Siting Act and the Transmission Line Siting Act was to balance the need for additional electricity against the need to minimize adverse effects on residents and the environment, without undue conflict with the goals established by applicable local comprehensive plan. These bills prioritize the need for additional electricity over all else and essentially negate the goal of minimizing adverse effects on residents and the environment, to the extent those goals are furthered by the local land use regulations the power companies will now be free to disregard
2. SB 1048 and HB 1055 are in conflict with other priorities of the Miami-Dade Delegation
a. The bills make it easier for FPL to build poles on its preferred corridor which includes the Underline and Ludlam Trail which are seeking state funds
b. The polls range from 80 ft. to 105 ft. and would affect or eliminate the construction of the Underline and Ludlam Trail
3. SB 1048 and HB 1055 do have economic impacts
a. 80 ft. to 105 ft. polls will limit the ability for developers to build on their properties due to the large base of the poles and swaying lines
b. Developers would be forced to pay for the undergrounding of the lines and therefore makes it more expensive to develop properties
c. Underdeveloped properties lead to lower ad valorem tax revenue


Anonymous said...

Joe Corradino, Pinecrest's actual mayor, will be representing the Village at the Senate hearing today up in Tallahassee.

Ross Hancock said...

Local legislators who voted for this toxic bill in various committees so far are Sen. Frank Artiles, Sen. Daphne Campbell, Rep. Nick Duran, and Rep. Holly Raschein. Only Sen. Jose Javier Rodriguez has stood up against it in a vote so far.

Rosy Palomino said...

Miami, Coral Gables & Other US1 communities tried for a decade to negotiate with the utility to bury the intrusive high-voltage power lines but were rebuffed. Finally, the courts decided that the development proposal exceeded local law and blocked it. In order to bypass local zoning rules required by the courts, a solution affecting the entire state is being proposed in the state legislature and supported by the area's state representative Nick Duran. While I support the quality service and low cost our utility offers, I feel that this argument over cost and health concerns should be settled by all parties affected as is part of our democratic process and our sacred tradition of private property rights. I cannot in good conscience support this bill as it stands.

Rosy Palomino

P.S. I live 1000 feet from the proposed area for the transmission lines and worked for many years on public input.

Anonymous said...

The siting board signed off on the two controversial lines and a backup plan in May 2014 as part of an approval for two proposed new nuclear reactors at Turkey Point. The decision immediately drew challenges from the county and cities of Miami, South Miami and Pinecrest, which argued the board ignored local rules.

Wednesday’s decision to send the order back, said Miami City Attorney Victoria Méndez “is a huge victory for the City in our position against FPL on this issue.”

Under the plan, one 230 kilovolt line would stretch along U.S. 1 from Cutler Bay, through Pinecrest, South Miami and Coral Gables to a substation in Coconut Grove. A second 500 kilovolt line would run along the county’s western edge. The utility wanted to build the line across Everglades marshes, including inside the park. But the siting board asked FPL to also try to find land that didn’t crisscross wetlands.

The ruling effectively puts an end to a wetlands corridor. 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.
From the Herald in 2016

“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,” said assistant county attorney Dennis Kerbel.

FPL spokesman Peter Robbins said in an email the utility believed the siting board made a “well-reasoned decision” and was disappointed with the ruling. Company officials were reviewing the opinion, he said, and would be evaluating legal options.

In reviewing the eastern corridor, judges determined that FPL cannot be exempted from local development rules or comprehensive plans drawn up by the cities.

While the decision puts the eastern corridor back in play, it’s still not clear what Scott and the cabinet will do. The politically powerful utility 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 Secrety Adam Putnam.

Read more here:

RESIST FPL said...

We desperately need a new State Representative in District 112. Jose Javier Rodriguez now State Senator, was the previous state representative and fought with community leaders for years against the encroachment of high intensity power lines running along US 1 from the Turkey Point nuclear power plant. These power lines which were blocked from being built after a successful lawsuit would have been built in areas of District 112 like Coconut Grove, the Roads and Brickell.

HB 1055 is the utility's answer to getting their power lines built in our backyard. Sadly, our current District 112 state representative Nick Duran (FPL-Miami) despite the fact these power lines run through the center of the district. This proposed legislation also includes allowing oil and gas pipelines from being installed through counties and communities that currently prohibit it throughout the state encroaching on agriculture land and nature sanctuaries such as the Florida Everglades.

Read the full bill here and the voting history:

I advise you look at the campaign of Jonathan Flores, a veteran and progressive as a potential replacement. His campaign motto is "Together, we will stand."