Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Next, Tuesday Governor and Cabinet to decide on FPL high voltage transmission line down US 1: make your calls to Governor's Cabinet Office today -- 850-717-9239 … by gimleteye

"You can't take politics out of politics", former Miami mayor and Miami-Dade county commissioner Maurice Ferre told the assembled crowd of citizens last night objecting to the plan by Florida Power and Light to erect enormous high voltage transmission lines along the US 1 corridor. People's concerns include the expectation of severely diminished property values once the high voltage lines are erected, health concerns related to radiation from the lines in the economic heartland of south Florida, and environmental issues including sea level rise. FPL dismisses these objections as "esthetic concerns".

Tomorrow, the Governor's Cabinet staff meet to discuss the FPL proposal. Representatives from South Florida municipalities, including South Miami Mayor Philip Stoddard, who has led the opposition, will be testifying. Final decisions will be made next Tuesday by the Governor and Cabinet.

At last night's Town Hall meeting in Coral Gables organized by Florida state representative Jose Javier Rodriguez (D), the outlines of what speakers refer to as a David versus Goliath battle were clear. Normally, Florida's biggest utility is only opposed by citizens, civic groups and environmentalists. In this case, municipal governments are on their side against FPL. Coral Gables, South Miami and Pinecrest are actively opposing the power lines, through advocacy and litigation.

Representatives from those municipalities spoke at last night's meeting. They will travel to Tallahassee today to address staff. Next Tuesday, Gov. Rick Scott -- in the middle of a difficult re-election campaign -- and his Cabinet will decide on key issues related to the siting of two new nuclear reactors that FPL wants, including the toxic issue of putting massive overhead high voltage lines down the US 1 corridor.

Pinecrest Mayor Cindy Lerner, one of the leaders of the effort to halt FPL's plans, said that FPL is more powerful today that government. "FPL literally dictates all energy policy and law and through its stamp of approval to members of the Public Utilities Commission."

One example she highlighted is the burying of high voltage cables. South Florida municipalities have tried to engage the Republican led state legislature on changes to law that would be necessary before FPL could consider the under grounding of the power cables, which Mayor Lerner trenchantly noted is a legally approved option "all over the United States but not in South Florida". According to Lerner, FPL lobbyists in Tallahassee have blocked all discussion of putting cables underground. According to Lerner, "A new governor could change all this."

Lerner also singled out Miami-Dade state senator Anitere Flores for criticism.

Flores, a Republican and chair of the Senate Communication, Energy and Public Utilities Committee has endorsed the power lines mounted on towers with a five foot diameter, reaching more than 105 feet overhead and spaced as close as 200 feet apart. A spokesperson for the City of Coral Gables noted that the corridor rights of FPL include a "one mile" right of way, meaning that the power line route could be located anywhere within one mile of US 1.

FPL's over-reach was also highlighted at last night's meeting by several speakers. By antagonizing municipal government, FPL is jeopardizing the power franchise agreements providing it with exclusive, monopolistic rights to supply customers with electric power.

Former Mayor Ferre focused on the practical politics and urged citizens to reach out to any Republicans with influence in the Governor's Office. Ferre noted that Jeb Bush lives in Coral Gables, but that Jeb has not weighed in on the issue.

The only person in the last night's audience to speak in favor of the power lines was Ada Bill, identified in the Miami Herald as "a Coral Gables resident". The Herald failed to add that she is a FPL public relations employee, a fact Ms. Bill disclosed to the audience. Ms. Bill said that Florida needs to upgrade its transmission grid, but the Sierra Club representative at the meeting, Jon Ullman, highlighted the problems of sea level rise, anticipated to significantly affect the South Florida economy during the service lifetime of the nuclear reactors, and said that the Governor and Cabinet will also be voting on the siting for the reactors at Turkey Point at next Tuesday's meeting. "The best way to stop the power lines is to kill the new reactors", said Ullman.

Although the new power lines could be built as early as 2015, FPL claims it would not begin construction until it had secured federal NRC approval for the new reactors, perhaps as early as 2016. Meanwhile, early cost recovery, funded by FPL ratepayers, is fueling the current plans, the FPL marketing blitz, and consuming enormous quantities of civic energy.

Citizens are urged to call the Governor's Cabinet Affairs Office today: 850-717-9239


Anonymous said...

Herald, pathetic as usual. No friend of its readers.

Ross Hancock said...

The FPL spokesperson at the Gables town hall meeting on power lines said that residents have a "responsibility" to host this infrastructure. We have no such responsibility. We have a responsibility to our children and to the community and to our environment, but we never signed up to be responsible for the burden of transmitting commercial power to a distant marketplace. FPL just posted a 15.9% revenue boost. It is FPL who has the responsibility, and the money, to do the right thing.

Anonymous said...

People are too complacent about FPL. It is a rogue corporation.

ShowMe, MO said...

Also express your opinion on the siting licenses for Nuclear Reactors Turkey Point 6 & 7 which also on theagenda next Tuesday. The license should either be rejected or at leastpostponed until the NRC approves orrejects their siting licenses. Turkey Point is Fukushima in waiting; not a matter of if,but only when. It is an actuarial event waiting to happen.

Regarding the impending rape of U.S 1 in Miami Dade County by FPL, the grid is old technology. Now it should be the decentralized production of energy on our homes and businesses. The grid should only be used for connectivity and we do neet 120 foot high poles for that. The grid is dangerous, subject
to solar storms, hurricanes, terrorists, human error and has been
linked to Alzhemers and childhood lukemia. If they want another way to move power from Turkey Point to Downtown Miami, just add a few lines to the 97th Avenue route.

PRabbino said...

This is strictly FPL strategy to maximize return on shareholder investment. Proposed power lines have nothing to do with the needs of the customers (you and me!).

FPL is a publicly-regulated utility specifically because they are expected to operate in the interests of the public, not just the shareholders!

Scientists, environmentalists and even financial markets agree that it is smarter to make similar financial investments in sustainable/decentralized green, renewable power... except this hurts FPL's bottom line.

Let's demand our politicians regulate this utility with the public's best interests first!

Anonymous said...

FPL exercises its might even in the municipalities with the sale of their properties located in municipalities in South Dade to developers. The "story" in Tallahassee this year was about the FPL funded candidates propped up in municipalities where FPL owns property. Accordingly, as the "story" goes, they are trying to get rid of the council members who don't support "highest and best uses" by the new developer/owners. Not only do we get to look forward to towers of concrete with transmission lines, we can look forward to towers of condos, lost green space, lost property values, traffic, noise and so much more courtesy of FPL.

onemiamikat said...

PLEASE NOTE -- Sid informed Mayor Stoddard today that

"After speaking with the Governor's office this morning I was told that the Governor's office will not be keeping track of the calls but rather the Florida Department of Environmental Protection agency will. "

At that number I spoke with Connie Byrd.

She indicated that opinions should not be phone in by rather sent via email.

Her email address is connie.byrd@dep.state.fl.us
I think It wouldn't hurt to cc the governor

Anonymous said...

This Governor only hears what he wants to hear.

Anonymous said...

The governor is up for reelection and will be especially sensitive to voter opinion. With DEP securely in support of FPL, it's the only thing that will save us.

Send your comments to Connie Byrd, who will forward them to each cabinet member and the governor.
or phone 850-245-2024

Anonymous said...

The governor is up for reelection and will be especially sensitive to voter opinion. With DEP securely in support of FPL, it's the only thing that will save us.

Send your comments to Connie Byrd, who will forward them to each cabinet member and the governor.
or phone 850-245-2024

Anonymous said...

It would be nice if this many people showed up to stop Carlos Gimenez and out-of-town carpetbaggers from filling in the Bicentennial Park boat slip.

Anonymous said...

FPL dismisses these objections as "esthetic concerns"???!! A friend visiting from Germany asked me why is the city infrastructure here designed so esthetically ugly, even a utilitarian German can notice the very ugly nature of our city design and infrastructure.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't believe it when I came back here. Those ugly toll signs. These small-minded people are destroying this community. Before its over, it will look like a third or fourth world city.