Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Conservancy To Fight FPL Power Plant

Group Fights Largest Proposed Coal Power Plant In U.S.

MOORE HAVEN, FL. -- Two new coal-fired plants are proposed in Glades County to be operated by Florida Power and Light within the environmentally sensitive Everglades ecosystem, and the Conservancy of Southwest Florida is not taking the plans lightly.  On June 5th, lawyers representing the Conservancy of Southwest Florida and other environmental groups will go to trial, seeking to defeat FPL's Glades County Power Plant Siting Application.  FPL has proposed constructing two new 980 MW coal-fired electrical generating units at a 4,900 acre site five miles northwest of Moore Haven in Glades County, within yards of Lake Okeechobee, creating the largest new coal-fired generating units in the United States and the first major coal-fired power plant in South Florida.  The plants would be located less than fifty miles from the Big Cypress Preserve and less than sixty-five miles from Everglades National Park, both lying to the south of the location.

The Conservancy of Southwest Florida challenged the land use consistency determination by Glades County in the Florida Power and Light Glades Power Park siting process, a lengthy administrative process for considering the siting of a power plant such as the one proposed. According to Andrew McElwaine, president and CEO of the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, "These two new coal-fired units would emit more than 180-200 pounds of mercury per year, making them the single largest source of mercury in South Florida. The FP&L plan for Glades County follows an unsuccessful attempt to build similar power plants in St. Lucie County.  We will pursue all legal options to prevent the proposed plants.  The Everglades are already under a fish consumption advisory for mercury covering some 2 million acres of South Florida."

 "The two new coal-fired units would be the largest source of carbon dioxide emissions in Florida at a time when it is increasingly evident we need to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2.)  Concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere are rising dramatically making Florida particularly vulnerable to the dual effects of global warming and climate change which may contribute to sea level rise and more intense hurricanes."

"The timing is critical," explains Andrew McElwaine.  "It is likely carbon dioxide regulations will be enacted during the next 5 years making the selection of conventional coal burning technologies, like the FP&L plant, a risky proposition for electricity customers, who will bear the burden of higher prices from future carbon regulation.  Energy efficiency and renewable energy sources are alternatives to reduce the need for a major coal-fired plant and have not been pursued aggressively by FP&L."

"The amount of truck, barge and rail traffic required to transport the coal to the plants is astonishing.  We�ll experience major congestion, more roadways, wetland reduction and air pollution into an Everglades system we are spending millions on to restore.  This is a circular logic we do not  understand.  Worse yet, the plants will use pulverized coal which will emit coal dust during transport."

"Governor Charlie Crist and the Cabinet will have final approval for siting any new power plants in Florida.  While Governor Charlie Crist has made climate change a priority for his administration and has stated that he is unhappy with the proposals for new coal-fired power plants in Florida, the Conservancy of Southwest Florida encourages everybody to contact him and thank him for raising concerns about coal-fired plants and the need to pursue clean, renewable energy sources," urges McElwaine.  "We need to ask for help to protect the Everglades, the Caloosahatchee River system and coastal lands vulnerable to the negative impacts of a sea level rise by denying this pulverized coal plant in the Everglades." 

The public trial will be presided over by Judge J. Lawrence Johnston and will be begin at 1 p.m., June 5 at the Doyle Connor Center in Moore Haven, Glades County, Florida.  It will likely continue all day June 6 and 7, group representatives say.

No comments:

Post a Comment