Wednesday, March 08, 2017

I love Florida Plunder and Loot (FPL) ... by gimleteye

I'm exasperated. I love Florida Power and Light. I love that my lights turn on. My internet works. I love that my a/c makes us cool when it's hot outside. My problem with FPL and its corporate parent, NextEra Energy, is that it misleads its consumer base with respect to safe water supply, safe air quality and a safe environment.

Have you ever noticed how FPL makes an instant television ad buy, the moment that bad news about its corporate malfeasance leak out? In these ads -- you know them- FPL is a good corporate citizen tirelessly working 24/7 to keep our electric rates among the lowest in the nation.

It shouldn't be up to bloggers to point out that politicians -- from Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez, to the county commissioners around him, to state legislators and especially Gov. Rick Scott and his heir apparent, Agriculture Secretary Adam Putnam have bent over backwards to accommodate FPL at Turkey Point, including approving higher output for its aging reactors and blessing early cost recovery (ie. additions to our electric bills) for two new nuclear reactors that in all likelihood will never be built.

In fact, if you want to understand how "truthiness" of corporate America-subsidized democracy morphed into the current ecosystem of "fake news", you would do well to review the turgid history of FPL's problems at Turkey Point and damage to surrounding natural resources that are now the tattered remains of the Everglades ecosystem.

Turkey Point, uniquely in the United States, relies on a vast radiator system to cool water used in the electric generation process before said water is expelled into the environment.

Demonstrably, it has been failing nearly since the moment the two reactors were commissioned in the early 1970s because FPL (Florida Plunder and Loot) has used adjacent lands it owns and lands it does not own, in public trust, as dumping ground for its mistakes. Time after time, FPL made legal binding commitments to the state that it would monitor its pollution plumes. Year after year, FPL failed to disclose the extent of problems until the emerging facts were unavoidable.

Nearly fifty years later, the scientific evidence is piling up that the cooling canals were allowed by the state of Florida in violation of legal, binding agreements FPL made to operate in a manner protecting water resources. What is lost in the mix: that environmental groups have been shouting for decades about the mounting problems at Turkey Point but politicians closed their ears. Maybe it had something to do with the TV ad buys. Maybe it had something to do with the huge campaign contributions FPL and its allied industries make to local office holders, to state legislators, and to members of Congress from Florida.

Last year, FPL came up with an expensive, highly engineered plan to "mitigate" the damage caused by the leaking cooling canals. The system was supposed to be "closed loop", but highly saline and polluted water from the canals is turning up everywhere else. The "mitigation" is anything but assured.

There is a better solution: to require FPL to build conventional cooling towers like those used at every other nuclear facility in the U.S. What is holding FPL back? Hubris.

The corporation doesn't like being told what to do by regulators. Or the public. Or the state. Or the courts. No, this is a corporation that, like so many other industrial enterprises, considers shareholders interests above any other value that might interfere with quarterly profits and "Wall Street expectations".

I am among a dwindling number of fishermen who enjoyed the southern end of Biscayne Bay, near Turkey Point, before the nuclear reactors and the failed cooling canal system. I recall vividly days in the early 1970s spent observing marine life in some of the richest sea grass meadows anywhere in south Florida. Those places are a desert now, plundered and looted by FPL -- a "valued" corporate citizen that keeps our lights on and blocked the collection of data and science violating binding, legal agreements with the state while elected officials looked the other way. Sad!


Anonymous said...

Our government should be promoting greater use of solar energy. Yet, as the monetary and environmental costs of nuclear increase, the advantages of solar will undoubtedly win out.
Nuclear power plants certainly aren't cheap. FPL customers utility bills are bound to head into the stratosphere when current aging plants are decommissioned, new plants go online.
High utility bills may be the incentive people need to go solar. And with climate change a force to reckon with, FPL seems to be taking a risk, especially if plans include locating new nuclear plants in Homestead. If I were an FPL executive, I'd be thinking thrice about building more nuke plants.

Anonymous said...

Look at the vision of FPL. What better place to plant a plant then in global warming s harms way. Then when disaster strikes, gosh, it was a act of god, quick every body help the poor FPL decommission the mess.

Since by then, everybody is pulling up stakes in they're tent's, and hurrying to higher grounds, a power station sitting in Biscayne Bay will not be a priority on peoples mind. As long as LED flash lights still work, that is.

In 91 we have seen state capitalism go puff in Russia.
What we are seeing now is crony capitalism in full control, trying to survive. Well, we are going to see if we are capable to be reformed, or go puff too. Time will tell.