|April 2016: Beach "renourishment" in Delray, FL|
"Shareholders request that beginning Dec. 1, 2016, the Board of Directors provide an annual report, prepared at reasonable cost and omitting proprietary information, on material risks to operations, facilities, and markets based on a range of sea level rise scenarios projecting forward to 2100 based on best available science.” Markets. That means, us.
FPL is the largest business unit of NextEra. Its major market is the eastern seaboard of Florida, defined by low lying topography and extraordinarily vulnerable to sea level rise. The Company's objections, filed in its proxy statement, are not responsive to our resolution.
For example, NextEra writes: "The sea level rise projections for the Turkey Point project under Nuclear Regulatory Commission (“NRC”) licensing review were developed in compliance with rigorous NRC requirements and processes, including relying on peer-reviewed data. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration estimates of sea level were used to project sea level rise over 100 years, and, if approved and constructed, the new Turkey Point nuclear reactors would comply with NRC standards for nuclear plants and be built more than 25 feet above current sea level, well above any predicted rise in sea level."
With only a few feet of sea level rise, the region surrounding the Turkey Point Nuclear Reactors will be under water. Even if roadways are built above the rising seas, it will be impossible to protect farmland, housing subdivisions, and commercial areas that service the immediate environs.
Ten years ago, I was the mayor's appointee to the first iteration of the Miami-Dade Climate Change Task Force, representing Sierra Club. There were over two dozen members of the public included in the advisory group authorized by the Miami-Dade County Commission. I resigned after concluding that thousands of hours of volunteer time in meetings had served the primary purpose of shuffling papers by local elected officials.
A decade later, and climate change has risen to a top-most urgent concern. In January, the World Economic Forum in Davos called climate change the biggest threat to global growth in 2016. Miami is often cited in international press reports as a region with the most to lose from rising seas.
|2016 is likely to be the hottest year on record. Photo image: NASA|
The Company writes, "There is no justification for the time and expense of the annual report requested by the proposal, particularly when the possible effect of sea level rise has already been appropriately addressed and the analysis is available to the public.”
FPL calls our resolution a “waste of time and money”. Really?
Some South Florida municipalities, like the City of Miami Beach, have already invested hundreds of millions to fight the significant impacts of sea level rise in the context of protecting billions of dollars of infrastructure serving millions of Floridians; not in 100 years but within the next twenty to fifty years.
A report by the The Southeast Florida Climate Change Compact includes: "In the short term, sea level rise is projected to be 6 to 10 inches by 2030 and 14 to 26 inches by 2060 (above the 1992 mean sea level). In the long term, sea level rise is projected to be 31 to 61 inches by 2100. For critical infrastructure projects with design lives in excess of 50 years, use of the upper curve is recommended with planning values of 34 inches in 2060 and 81 inches in 2100."
FPL's Turkey Point reactors were commissioned in 1973 and are still operation more than forty years later. By that time metric -- forty years from 2020's when FPL's new nuclear reactors would be operational -- South Florida will be staring at 34 inches of sea level rise.
To be dismissive of sea level rise concerns, NextEra management abrogates its fiscal responsibility to shareholders. Management's answer that new nuclear reactors will be built twenty five feet above sea level at Turkey Point is non-responsive. Shareholders want an honest assessment of sea level rise, backed by the full engineering capabilities of one of Florida's largest corporations, not peevish assurances from its PR department.