For example, The Miami Herald notes a meeting that is taking place today of the Florida Public Service Commission at Miami International Airport to review board candidates for appointment by Gov. Rick Scott.
The PSC is extraordinarily important: it is the authority that handed FPL, for example, the right to start billing you and me for $20 billion in new nuclear reactors at sea level before the permitting was complete.
So if you want context for the upcoming election for Florida governor, understand what exactly is happening at this important meeting today and who is being considered for appointment to this board that holds the state's energy policies captive to what big utilities want.
In a simple paragraph, the Herald notes, "Also to be interviewed is Rep. Jimmy Patronis, a Republican from Panama City, who runs the popular Captain Anderson's restaurant which is owned by his family. Patronis lists no utility-related experience in his resume but is a favorite for the job because of his political connections. Patronis dropped out of the 2016 state Senate race to replace Sen. Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, leaving Gaetz's son, Matt Gaetz, the frontrunner in the race and many expect him to be named by Scott to the utility board in consolation."
Consolation, my ass.
Patronis was the most rabid anti-environmental leader during his term-limited role in the Florida House. It is unconscionable for the Herald to note this fact. Type "Patronis" in the search bar of Eye On Miami for more of execrable detail.
Jimmy Patronis isn't going to be a "consolation appointee" by Gov. Rick Scott to the PSC. This is a politician who delighted in co-sponsoring the harshest anti-environmental legislation in recent sessions, part of the wrecking crew that dismantled decades of bipartisan achievements and leaving in its place a fortress for pro-business interests.
Back in 2013 we nabbed a compelling quote from Frank Matthews, one of the most powerful of Tallahassee lobbyists who walks point on damaging legislation written by and for developers, phosphate miners, power companies and Big Sugar. “I can’t say enough good things about him. He couldn’t be more accommodating. That’s the appealing thing to me.”
Straightforward enough for you?
So this is what the November election for Florida governor is really about: whether voters will permit another term for Gov. Rick Scott to seed important governing boards and entities like the Public Service Commission with cronies like Jimmy Patronis.
The bottom line: Florida cannot afford Rick Scott. (click 'read more', for the full Herald report and press statement concerning today's protest at 11:00AM, Miami International Airport Hotel.)
The normally staid meeting of the Public Service Nominating Council could get a bit lively on Thursday as a group of climate change activists, including a scientist who met with Gov. Rick Scott, stage a protest at the Miami International Airport to complain about the utility board's "cozy relationship with Florida's utility companies."
There are two vacancies on the five-member PSC and the legislatively-dominated nominating council has a history of picking candidates that areendorsed and backed by the state's largest utilities -- which are among the largest contributors to legislative campaigns and non-profit causes promoted by legislators.
The nominating council will interview 16 candidates on Thursday and offer up as many three nominees for each of the two seats on the commission. Gov. Rick Scott will choose from the list of nominees and in the past has re-appointed candidates backed by the state's power companies.
Seeking a second term is Commissioner Julie Immanuel Brown, who will be among those interviewed on Thursday. A second position was opened when Commissioner Eduardo Balbis decided not to seek a second term. He was an occasional critic of the industry on a board that has a record of embracing much of the agenda of the state's largest electric utilities in the past four years.
Also to be interviewed is Rep. Jimmy Patronis, a Republican from Panama City, who runs the popular Captain Anderson's restaurant which is owned by his family. Patronis lists no utility-related experience in his resume but is a favorite for the job because of his political connections. Patronis dropped out of the 2016 state Senate race to replace Sen. Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, leaving Gaetz's son, Matt Gaetz, the frontrunner in the race and many expect him to be named by Scott to the utility board in consolation.
Here's the press release from Florida For All:
To protest the Scott Administration & Public Service Commission’s cozy relationship with Florida’s utility companies, South Miami Mayor Phillip Stoddard, Climate Scientist Harold Wanless, and activists will hold a press conference Thursday at 11:00am, at the Miami International Airport Hotel, while the PSC holds its nominating meeting of new board members.
Rick Scott, whose campaign committee has received more than $1 million from both FPL and Progress/Duke Energy, has final approval over the PSC appointments. Critics say Scott and the PSC have consistently favored utility companies at the expense of consumers and Florida’s sensitive ecosystem, which is highly vulnerable to climate change.
Particularly egregious is the nuclear recovery fee, which allows utilities to charge for construction of nuclear projects, even if no energy is ever produced. Critics say this is both unfair to ratepayers and crowds out renewable energy development. FPL customers may end up paying at least $16 million for FPL’s proposed expansion of Turkey Point, which will add two additional nuclear reactors and hundreds of miles of power lines that will tear through highly populated communities. In Central Florida, Duke Energy customers are on the hook for $3.2 billion in costs related to two nuclear projects that are not producing any energy.
Dr Wanless, one of the climate scientists that Scott met with for 30 minutes last week, will reiterate the danger climate change poses to Florida and the Scott Administration's failure to it seriously. Case in point, FPL's plan to expand Turkey Point Nuclear Power Plant, which does not adequately take into account climate change-related superstorms or rising sea levels.
WHO: South Miami Mayor Phillip Stoddard, Harold R. Wanless, Ph.D., chairman and professor in the Department of Geological Sciences at University of Miami, and activists.
WHAT: Press Conference to expose Rick Scott and PSC cozy relationship with utilities
WHEN: 11:00 am, Thursday, August 28th