Friday, October 17, 2014

FPL on the rampage again

Fla. utility petitions to let ratepayers fund fight against EPA rule proposal
Annie Snider, E&E reporter
Published: Thursday, October 16, 2014

Florida's largest electric utility is asking state regulators to let ratepayers pick up the tab for its lobbying against an Obama administration proposal that would expand areas of wetlands and waterways entitled to automatic protection under the Clean Water Act.

Florida Power & Light Co.'s petition to the Public Utility Commission seeks approval of plans to have ratepayers pay for its advocacy under a state law allowing utilities to recover environmental-compliance costs.

The petition filed by FPL in July says the company would study the rule proposal's potential impacts on the utility, file comments with the Obama administration and advocate its positions with state and federal policymakers. Estimated cost: $228,500.

"FPL contends that the proposed rule revisions are overreaching and in conflict with the United States Supreme Court decisions regarding [Waters of the U.S., or WOUS]," FPL told the commission. "These proposed changes could result in [Clean Water Act] requirements applying to existing and future power plant, transmission, distribution, pipeline and renewable energy generation related projects that would not be subject to those requirements under the current WOUS definition."

FPL spokeswoman Sarah Gatewood said the utility's advocacy is aimed at saving ratepayers money. A study of four FPL plants found complying with the new rule would cost about $25 million per site for retrofits like installing new technology to meet water quality requirements at cooling ponds, she said.

"Those are significant costs that our customers would have to pay that could cost our customers millions and millions of dollars, and so we would like to get involved and advocate in the process now to prevent those costs from being necessary," Gatewood said.

Environmentalists call the FPL move an "unconscionable" attack on protections for wetlands that filter pollution, buffer floodwater and provide wildlife habitat and recreational space.

"FPL's attempt to recover nearly a quarter of a million dollars from its customers is egregious," Alisa Coe, an attorney with Earthjustice, told reporters today on a conference call held by the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, Clean Water Action and Earthjustice. "They are using a law meant to help companies pay for pollution control measures and instead are using it to attack environmental protections."


Anonymous said...

FPL needs to get serious about solar, it's ri-goddamn-diculous they haven't by now.

Anonymous said...

FPL is a rogue corporation.

Anonymous said...

I remember well in the 1992 election cycle well meaning folks to ask for Government to be run more like corporations.
The last two decades have been a text book example of how that works out.