Thursday, April 21, 2016

Third District Court rules against FPL and Gov. Rick Scott/ Adam Putnam on siting new nuclear reactors at Turkey Point ... by gimleteye

Troubles at FPL's Turkey Point nuclear facility have been an enduring topic at Eye On Miami. This morning's news -- that the Third District Court of Appeals overturned Gov. Scott and the Cabinet's siting decision on two new nuclear reactors -- has the state's airwaves buzzing. We urge readers to go back over our archive to understand what is at stake. This is the second major court decision that has gone against FPL's polluting Turkey Point in recent months.

Unfortunately for FPL and its parent company NextEra Energy, the only aspect of its environmental problems at Turkey Point it can't cure with massive campaign contributions are court decisions. Yesterday's returned a predictably mumbled response from FPL. (Side note: the City of Miami gets a BIG shout-out for fighting FPL's horrendous plan to put hi-voltage power cables overhead, down US 1, and rotten tomatoes for the City of Coral Gables, whose attorneys cut a side deal with FPL -- inexplicably -- during the controversy leading up to the Gov. and Cabinet approving the now-discredited FPL plan.)

Our problems with Turkey Point aren't going away. First, there is the massive problem with the cooling canals, failed, at two existing nuclear reactors to which regulators and politicians, including the Miami-Dade County Commission, turned a blind eye for thirty three years. Wealthy rock mining executive Steve Torcise published, today, "State Regulators Must Hold FPL Accountable".
The company submitted information to the South Florida Water Management District in 1983 showing that a plume of hypersaline water had advanced nearly 1,000 feet beyond the cooling canal system — a condition they agreed to prevent in 1972. FPL and the state have failed at every opportunity to stop this contamination from advancing farther west. In 2008, FPL did nothing when we presented them with their own information documenting how the contamination stemmed from its cooling canal system. In 2009, instead of taking action, FPL convinced regulators it would monitor the situation, even though the plume had already grown substantially since 1983. While publicly denying the cooling canal system was causing any problems in 2010, FPL prepared an internal document outlining an extensive series of more than 30-plus possible corrective actions to stop the saltwater intrusion. But they never implemented any of these corrective measures.
It's a good read, and good to keep in mind how many tens of millions of dollars the rock miner is likely to receive in a taking claim against FPL.

Ratepayers ought to be so well organized. It should be well within the rights of law for FPL customers to claw back the early cost recovery fees they have been paying for the two new nuclear reactors which many believe will never be built, despite the fact that the Public Service Commission (Rick Scott appointees like Jimmy Patronis) keep shedding opportunities for the politicians to rake in cash. FPL and other electric utilities have been among Gov. Scott's biggest campaign contributors.

So what's next for FPL Turkey Point? The District Court remanded the siting case back to the Governor and Cabinet, all of whom -- especially Ag. Secretary Adam Putnam whose leadership from the dais blessed the now discredited, illegal plan -- deserve condemnation by voters. We tried highlighting these issues for voters prior to Scott's reelection in 2014. That, obviously didn't work so well.

Florida Third District Court rules against Florida Power and Light

There seem to me a couple of issues. FPL could resubmit a plan for the new power cables required by the planned reactors by burying the cables down US 1. Ratepayers across the state would ultimately shoulder the cost. Then there is the issue of power cables FPL wanted to string up in Everglades National Park. That's not going to fly. Period.

FPL's long term problem is the massive risk to South Florida from sea level rise, also noted by the Third District Court. Think about it: FPL's nuclear reactors are built high enough to withstand even ten feet of sea level rise in the future, but roadways throughout South Dade will be underwater -- stranding the reactors.

My wife and I have proposed a shareholder resolution, incorporated within materials for NextEra Energy's annual meeting in Oklahoma City on May 19th. (NextEra is the parent company of FPL. FPL is its (by far) largest business unit.) Our resolution asks the company to report on sea level rise impacts to markets, infrastructure and operations according to best available science.

The kind of best available science the company routinely shrugs its shoulders at, even when legal agreements are in place. The question for voters: when will voters finally throw out the elected officials who allowed FPL free reign? It is a very long list of elected officials, by the way, who will not stand up and be counted until voters do that for them.


Anonymous said...

Ylour reporting is excellent.

Anonymous said...

So explain how Eric Draper, Florida Audubon, and Erik Eikenberg, president of the Everglades Foundation, praised Nextera and FPL as great corporate citizens? Wonder who's giving to them or on their boards.

youbetcha' said...

I am glad for us. It may not stick long, but it is nice that everyone worked at a common cause.