Thursday, January 10, 2013

Phrase of the Year: Sacrifice Zones ... by gimleteye

I googled to see if I could find the first usage of the term "sacrifice zone". The term describes areas (and neighbors) we sacrifice in order to pollute. On such sacrifice zone is Biscayne National Park.

National Parks are supposed to be held in trust, by the federal government, for future generations. They are supposed to be inviolable by polluters. The latest torpedo attack on our national parks is FPL's new plan for Turkey Point.

The desolate, bizarre Turkey Point Nuclear Power Plant complex is isolated from the view of people except by boat. From the water, you can see five power plants, including two aged nuclear reactors. The idea of sacrifice implies a surrendering one value or outcome for another.

This morning, as volunteer president of Friends of the Everglades, I will take another day out of my life to go to the county commission to testify against the surrendering a national park in order to permit two new nuclear reactors at Turkey Point by Florida Power and Light.

The county commission is being asked to approve a plan to divert 120 million gallons per day of treated municipal sewage that ultimately will be used to "cool" two new nuclear reactors that FPL plans to build in the lowest relative to sea level rise and most vulnerable section of the county. Of course, the county commission should say, no. The Miami Herald should say, no. Everyone should say, no to more nuclear at sea level, in the most vulnerable section of a state that is more vulnerable than any other in the nation to the severe costs of sea level rise.

Last month, in a planned exercise of imposing frustration on citizens, the county commission heard this issue on the dais, entertaining presentations by FPL lobbyists, then suddenly "lost" its quorum when it came time for citizen opponents of the nuclear project to speak. (Read our analysis -- because you won't be able to read an analysis anywhere else -- of what happened on December 14th, 2012 at the county commission, here.)

In the Florida Keys, the rumbling has grown. A recent newspaper article prompted a reply from Steven D. Scroggs, the senior project manager for the new nuke plan. He wrote:

"The backup (cooling) system uses radial collector wells that are specifically designed, and confirmed by extensive modeling, to have no adverse environmental impact. At the recommendation of South Florida Water Management District, use of the radial collector wells is expected to be restricted to less than 60 days in a 12-month period, assuming they're needed at all. FPL supports the restriction and is confident the county will be able to provide all required wastewater on a daily basis.

FPL is proud of its long-standing commitment and track record of protecting the environment, including our efforts to protect and grow the population of the once-endangered American crocodile at our Turkey Point facility. The Turkey Point Units 6 & 7 Project would continue that commitment and help bring additional safe, clean and reliable energy to South Florida while helping to solve the very costly problem of disposing of the county's wastewater."

Proud? That's like US Century Bank saying it is "proud" of its reputation in the community while it turned out to be, for its size, the most undercapitalized, insider piggy bank in the United States. What Scroggs didn't write is that these "radial collector wells" comprise a vast well field directly under Biscayne National Park. They will be designed to suck out 90 million gallons per day of sea water, through the porous aquifer, creating a massive "sacrifice zone" over a very wide area.

For Scroggs to write there will "no adverse environmental impact" instantly invites comparison with the broken promises of FPL in its formal agreements with the state to halt salt water intrusion to South Florida through its existing cooling canal system.

The sad fact is that the Florida legislature is to blame for the "early cost recovery" awarding FPL nearly two hundred million dollars per year -- from ratepayers like you and me -- to fund Scroggs and the lobbyists and the engineers and the planners to design and attempt to permit two new nuclear reactors that are virtually certain never to be built.

If you watch today's proceedings on live broadcast from the county commission, just keep in mind some people are being paid a lot of money to be there, and some aren't. Level playing field? You tell me.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for being there, may the force be with you. We will be sending good energy to help you withstand the avalanche of BS coming your way.

Anonymous said...

Gimleteye - we are watching this and thank you for your leadership role.

It is becoming difficult to sustain civic engagement on these urgent environmental issues - because of the growing # of issues and the delay and ignore games played by our elected officials.

The public becomes worn down, but folks like you keep us energized. Stay the course, Gimleteye, and know that all your days spent speaking on behalf of S Florida are deeply appreciated.


Geniusofdespair said...

Oh, Caroline, if only you knew what torture it is going to these meetings. Alan is a true saint. You might as well be explaining Einstein's theory in Arabic if you bother to do public one listens so it doesn't matter what you say. It is Arabic to them.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for caring.

Anonymous said...

I know how frustrating this is. I was there till the bitter end. But don't give up -- your voice is too important to be quiet. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

You say the 2 reactors will never get built?, Well, here's a safe bet for you - $10 sez the reactors get built within 10 years. And they will be decommissioned after a useful life loooooooong before the sea level rises enough to cause a threat (that is, IF it ever rises).