Monday, October 22, 2007
On the 11/5 Agenda:
*BATTLING FPL´S WEST COUNTY ENERGY CENTER
*ROCKMINING IN THE EVERGLADES AG AREA
*DECEMBER 13th!!! JOINT MEETING BTW SFWMD & COUNTY COMMISSION
*The battle with Florida Power & Light rages on...
-LEGAL STRATEGY: We need a plan, we need SERIOUS fundraising. Our lawsuits are getting under way and we need to gather support to keep them alive.
-OUTREACH & ORGANIZING: We have a good opportunity for fundraising and collecting petitions at Moon Fest in West Palm, Oct 27. If you are available, please meet at 5pm at Respectable Street Cafe 518 Clematis Street, WPB..
We also have a costumed protest on Oct. 31 at FPL Offices in Juno Beach, please be there! http://pbcec.blogspot.com/2007/10/you-thought-halloween-was-scary.html
-MOBILIZE! The 29 of November (Remember, Remember!) The PBC County Commission will have the West County Energy Center brought before them for a request to increase the site´s Megawatt capacity to 3800 MW, making it in the top 3 largest fossil fuel burning power plants in the country. We will discuss mobilizing for this meeting, 9am at 301 North Olive (the County Building).
-POLITICAL SUPPORT: We have gathered interest from several regional elected officials. Who can follow up with these people, or their assistants? (Wexler, Skidmore, Klein, Hastings, Bucher...) There are 2 dates in November (13th and 27th) for FL´s Legaslative Delegation Public Hearings. Who can attend? For details call 561-355-2406
*Rock Mining in the Everglades Agricultural Area...
-The County meeting for rock mining in the EAA that was scheduled for 10/23 has been postponed...
-Check out John A. Marshall’s excellent comments on Rock Mining & a plan for the EAA: http://news.caloosahatchee.org/docs/EAA_Rock_Mining_Study_Public_Comments.pdf
...Or if you prefer your information on rock mining to be devoid of any science or conscience, check out Doug Callaway website from the Floridians for Better Transportation (aka FL Chamber of Commerce) http://www.keepfloridarockin.org
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------*December *December 13 Joint Meeting with SFWMD and County
This meeting will be held a the PBC Convention Center, 9am to 1pm, the agenda will be loaded with crucial issues: MECCA FARMS, L-8 ROCK PITS, LOXAHATCHE RIVER, URBAN REDEVELOPMENT PLAN, DROUGHT FORCAST, NEW LANDFILL and more. We need to pack this meeting! Mark your calendars! Spread the word!!
Saturday, October 20, 2007
Below is a correspondence from FPL to a local resident in the nearby Fox Trails neighborhood. The Palm Beach County Environmental Coalition (PBCEC) has interjected responses to the comments of Barbara Linkiewicz, of FPL's environmental licensing department. Our Coalition's goal is to stop the West County Energy Center (WCEC) immediately and promote clean, renewable energy. FPL says they intend to build a solar power facility in Florida. We think this location, which they already own, with its ecologically-sensitive location, is a prime opportunity. Specifically, we support a concept that has been promoted by FAU Professor and Loxahatchee Groves Councilperson, Dr. J. William Louda that couples a solar power facility with filtering marshes, addressing the goals of both energy generation and water quality for Everglades restoration. For more on this concept, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or (561) 297-3309. *Much of this information is taken from communication between the PBCEC and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP). For full copies of these documents or general information on the PBCEC, contact 561-588-9666, PBCEnviroCoalition@gmail.com or visit www.pbcec.blogspot.com------------------------------
------------------------------ ------------------------------ ------------------------------ ----- Original Message -----Sent: Friday, September 28, 2007 11:24 AMSubject: West County Energy CenterDear __________,
Since you did not accept my offer to discuss your concerns, I thought that I would at least touch with you on a few of the points that you raised in your email correspondence. As you may know, the West County Energy Center (WCEC) will be a natural gas-fired combined-cycle unit which will be among the cleanest, most environmentally advanced generating units in the state and the country. In fact, this plant will operate with emission levels well below the state and federal emission requirements. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) found that the plant will not cause any adverse impact to the ambient air quality in the region.[PBCEC RESPONSE: The FDEP which Ms. Linkiewicz claims found that this plant will not cause any adverse impact was of the State's previous administration, much of which has been replaced. In FDEP's original timeline, the proposed plant was not scheduled to be in front of the Governor and Cabinet for a 'Final Certification' hearing until February 2007. This hearing was instead conducted on Dec 19, 2006, Bush's final meeting in office. We believe that the emissions requirements that allowed this plant to pass were inadequate and rushed to avoid coming carbon regulations and potential scrutiny from a new FDEP staff. Several comments below will elaborate on this allegationIn reality, the FDEP did not find there would be "No adverse impact to the ambient air quality in the region". This is untrue. The WCEC's thousands of tons of toxic airborne pollutants trigger the PSD (prevention of significant deterioration) & HAP (Hazardous Airborne Pollutants). All FDEP says is "These toxic pollutants will not raise airborne pollutant levels above AAQ ( Ambient Air Quality) levels". It is absurd to suggest that air borne pollutants (or any pollutants for that matter)—in particular the amounts FPL will be emitting—will not be adverse. ALL studies clearly show airborne pollutants are adverse to health and to the Environment in which we live. This particular area (plant site) is being punished for its relatively clean air. The modeling referred to by FPL is very open to flaws, for example, did they take samples when the sugar fields were burning?]
Also, FPL met with Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge during the extensive licensing process for this facility and FPL satisfactorily answered all of the Refuge's questions. In fact, this plant has been evaluated and found to be consistent with the strict air criteria established by the Federal Land Manager at the Department of Interior. Also, air quality analysis conducted in accordance with FDEP procedures show that the plant's air emissions will be significantly less than the air quality standards protective of public health and welfare and will avoid air quality degradation.[PBCEC RESPONSE: As was indicated above by Ms. Linkiewicz, the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge (LNWR) staff did not actually offer approval or support to FPL. And whether they actually answered LNWR questions 'satisfactorily' is open to debate, especially considering that the project has since modified its air quality permit and is still lacking other essential permits. There is suspicion that staff was prohibited from any criticism that could have threatened the plant's permitting; this is currently under investigation. Meanwhile, a document from the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission has surfaced which did ask difficult questions, but was never submitted to the permit approval and certification proces s. This document is available from PBCEC upon request.]
Further, regarding air emissions at the plant, WCEC will use Best Available Control Technology (BACT) including nitrogen oxide (NOx) Combustion controls and Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) to minimize emissions. We conducted air modeling to ensure plant emissions would be significantly under the standards EPA and FDEP use to ensure avoidance air quality degradation.[PBCEC RESPONSE: FPL's own application showed it was possible to reduce the amount of NOx by over 600 tons! The cost would have been a mere $7 million with $500,000 annual maintenance costs. There are many ways in which a publicly-regulated, profit-based utility with annual revenues in the billions of dollars could and should work to get every ton of airborne toxic substances out of the air their customer breathes.Despite what FPL claims here, their application reflects a significant contribution to air quality degradation. Below is some general information about the WCEC's emissions (from the first 2 units, running 2,500 MW). This information is based on FPL's application but was elaborated on from our own independent research:841 tons of Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) would be emitted by the WCEC annually; this is approximately 20 times the PSD Significant Emission Rate. When combined with sunlight and Volatile Organic Compounds, VOC, (also contributed by WCEC, at 176 tons/year) ground level ozone (smog) is created. According to the EPA, smog can trigger serious respiratory problems, such as asthma.1,031 tons/year of Particulate Matter (PM), or soot, would be emitted (approximately 30 times PSD Significant Emission Rate). PM/PM10 not only contributes to regional haze but also creates a very serious public health risk. Particles of soot are so small that they bypass the body's defenses, lodging directly in the lungs. Many reputable studies have linked PM to lung cancer and heart problems. (American Lung Association at: http://www.4cleanair.org
/ScienceSummary-605.pdf).There would be 407 tons/year of Sulfur Dioxide (SO2) emissions (10 times the PSD Significant Emission Rate). SO2 from power plants in Everglades marshes would feed the bacteria that converts mercury to its dangerous, methylated form. SO2 is also a precursor to the acid rain that makes our waterways inhospitable for local fish, plants and wildlife.On top of this, there was no assessment of the cumulative atmospheric impacts that this plant will contribute into an already polluted regional atmosphere; no documentation presented that took into account emissions from FPL's Barley Barber plant in Martin County, or the massive pollutants that come from burning sugar cane. In 2004, Palm Beach County ranked 8 th nationally for cancer-causing air and water pollution and 15th nationally for reproductive toxicants. There is no excuse for not assessing cumulative impact. Using BACT and SCR mean very little if there is not an accurate overall portrayal of the existing pollution that the WCEC will be contributing to.]- Hide quoted text -
WCEC will utilize the cleanest of all fossil fuels, primarily natural gas with ultra-low sulfur light oil used as backup. These fuels contain virtually no mercury, and will have no adverse impact on the health of residents or well-water quality.[PBCEC RESPONSE: Burning fossil fuels releases mercury. According to FPL, the first 2500 MW of this plant alone will release 9 pounds annually. Mercury causes problems at 'parts per million' levels (ppm) in the environment. FDA levels are 1 ppm, Canada is ½ ppm. Mercury released like this builds up forever in tissues of animals.]
Lastly, regarding air, even though Carbon Dioxide (CO2) is not a regulated air pollutant, FPL has taken into account the additional CO2 emissions from our choices to meet the energy needs of our customers. FPL is one of the cleanest electric generation companies in the U.S. and in Florida. Our current CO2 emissions rate is more than 20% lower than the average CO2 emissions rate for both Florida and the U.S. electric generating industry. In fact, 70% of the electricity FPL generates in Florida comes from zero emission nuclear power and low emission natural gas plants. FPL has a strong and proven commitment to being a leader in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in Florida and the U.S. and is committed to meeting the emission targets set by Governor Crist's Executive Order 07-127 for years 2017, 2025, and 2050 at a fleet wide level.[PBCEC RESPONSE: This plant was certified before Crist became governor and has nothing to do with meeting the Governor's Executive Order, 07-127. This order was modeled after the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which has established that there is a need to reduce carbon emissions by, essentially, more than 90% in 40 years, starting immediately. According to FPL the first 2500 MW of this plant will release 8.5 million tons of CO2 annually. They have now expressed intent to increase the plant to 3800 MW, which would factor out to over 12 million tons.Natural Gas appears to be 'low-emission' only in comparison to coal (which FPL was also been pushing for, just earlier this year ). In Reality, gas is in the top 3 carbon-emitting energy sources, and is way over-used in Florida, accounting for over 30% of energy generation. Florida's electric utilities produced more than 120 million tons of CO2 in 1997 alone. This plant could emit 10% of Florida's total '97 electric CO2 emissions.A quick side note about nuclear power: it is not 'zero-emission'—practically all nuke plants currently require fossil fuel back up generation—and the threats accompanying nuclear disasters are far too great to take risks with. Not to mention daily radioactive emissions and the nuclear waste dilemma. The public subsidies for nukes should be directed towards truly clean renewable energy sources.]
Specifically, WCEC, with its use of natural gas as the primary fuel and the use of combined cycle technology, will have the lowest CO2 emissions rate on a pound per megawatt per hour (lb/MWhr) basis of any new fossil plant in the country. To put things in perspective, the technology to be used at WCEC has been identified by the State of California, which is considered to be the leader in reducing greenhouse gases, as the technology deemed to be in compliance with their future greenhouse gas emission performance standard. Currently, the State of California is proposing a CO2 standard of 1,100 lb/MWhr. The CO2 emission rate for WCEC will be approximately 750 lb/MWhr, which is significantly less than the California proposed standard.[PBCEC RESPONSE: This is a useless piece of info supplied to mislead the public. Using math, we multiply 750 x 3300 megawatt (existing proposal that the land is currently certified for) x 24 x 365= 2,161,000,000 lbs or 10,840,500 tons keep in mind this is at its most efficient, the permit allows for Start-up, Shut-down and Malfunction ( S.S.M.s) increases well beyond that. To compare, a similar plant that FPL uses had an average of 13 S.S.M.s in one month. Take the number above and multiply by 1.25, it will be more accurate, as long as gas is the primary fuel. We can almost double it when they use the 'back-up' diesel oil.Unfortunately, the planet does not respond to relative emission levels, it responds to real pollution. The scale of this plant negates any technological improvements. At its proposed total capacity, this will be one of the largest fossil fuel power plants in the country, and one of the single largest greenhouse gas emitters in Florida. The above argument by FPL is the definition of corporate green-washing; FPL has mastered this public relations art form. The IPCC and the Governor's Executive Order call for 90% (technically, 'below 80% of 1990 levels') reduction of CO2. This plant moves us in opposite direction.]
Regarding water use at the facility, FPL worked with the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) to ensure that WCEC met all the criteria for water use. FPL agreed to obtain its water from the Floridan Aquifer. The Floridan Aquifer is an alternative water supply source located much deeper than the Surficial Aquifer. In reality, the water in the Floridan Aquifer is brackish and is not suitable for drinking or agricultural irrigation without extensive treatment. Use of the Floridan Aquifer will avoid impacts to the shallower Surficial Aquifer. The SFWMD required modeling of the aquifer and approved the project is in compliance with its strict standards for water use permits. When available, in order to help the water supply and storage within the regional system, FPL requested and the SFWMD agreed to allow use of stormwater from L10/L12 canal when it is available as excess stormwater. This excess stormwater would normally be discharged to tide and would not be available for the environment.[PBCEC RESPONSE: The Floridan Aquifer is being used now as a primary water source by many municipalities. In fact, SFWMD is no longer issuing permits for wells into the shallower aquifer. The WCEC permit was reviewed by a SFWMD Board under the previous State administration. This is the same board who has overseen the permitting of record wetland losses, watched the Herbert Hoover dike deteriorate, lost whistleblower suits on public safety and flood control, and extorted taxpayers for payoffs to wealthy landowners under the guise of 'restoration' (some of whom are now subjects of a Federal Indictment on public corruption).FPL's assurance that SFWMD oversaw the permits should be of little-to-no comfort to anyone. According to Everglades Restoration efforts, excess stormwater is supposed to be stored, treated and made available to regional drought-sensitive ecosystems, agriculture and the drinking water supply. Supplying power plants is no part of this equation. The permitted consumption rate for this plant is equivalent to roughly 50,000 homes—more than the entire Acreage population.]
Regarding wastewater, FPL is designing the WCEC to have no industrial wastewater or stormwater discharges into surface waters. Our primary source of wastewater is the cooling water we use to cool plant equipment. The majority of the water used for cooling will evaporate, however a portion will have to be managed as wastewater. We are seeking permission from the FDEP to inject the wastewater approximately 3,000 feet underground into the "Boulder Zone". A combination of the subsurface geology which provides hundreds of feet of confinement and well design and construction ensures there will be no detrimental impact on the area's drinking water sources, or water supply/ irrigation wells. Potential drinking water sources are confined by the geology of the site and they are located well above the Boulder Zone.[PBCEC RESPONSE: This wastewater is not pristine or safe. It will be concentrated through the evaporation process, will contain runoff from the polluted surficial water, concentrated nutrients from the Floridan Aquifer, chemicals and acid used in cooling and scrubber systems descaling processes and chemicals used in their pipes to monitor and deal with erosion (including radioactive iodine). It has been almost a year since Governor Bush and Cabinet certified this plant and FPL's design has not yet passed the requirements of public oversight.]
In your email, you reference contamination of Surficial Aquifer wells at Rustic Ranches, due to dredging in the Stormwater Treatment Area. Dredging activities occur at much shallower depths than where FPL will be injecting its waste stream. In addition, the measures required by the Underground Injection Control (UIC) program ensure the protection of the Surficial Aquifer from UIC injection.
UIC rules are established by the EPA under 40 CFR Part 145, which governs the disposal of wastewater into the deep aquifer. FDEP has adopted Chapter 62-528, Florida Administrative Code, which provides State regulations that are at least as stringent as the federal rule. The purpose of this rule is to protect the quality of the underground source of drinking water and prevent degradation of the quality of other aquifers adjacent to the injection zone. This rule also regulates the construction and operation of injection wells in such a way that the injected fluid remains in the injection zone, and that unapproved interchange of water between aquifers is prohibited. The UIC permitting process includes review of all permit applications by the Florida Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), consisting of representatives from the SFWMD, FDEP, US Geological Survey, US EPA, Florida Bureau of Geology and local environmental agencies.[PBCEC RESPONSE: It is worth mentioning that the first test-well FAILED; and after the first failure the DEP then allowed FPL the privilege of constructing an Exploratory well in the fit, form, and function of a constructed Class One Industrial Well. While this plant says it is not going to inject technically 'hazardous' waste, it will inject industrial waste into a pristine aquifer. Federal guidelines according to the EPA require that Class One Industrial Waste Wells be constructed technically identical to a Hazardous well—they must show 10,000 year containment.]
Under the FDEP rules for UIC, each deep injection well requires either two monitoring wells, or one dual zone monitoring well. For this site, a dual zone monitoring well will be used. This well will allow detection of any upward movement of injected wastewaters allowing for corrective measures to be taken before impacts to sources of drinking water may occur.The expected injection capacity is approximately 7 million gallons per day not 21 million gallons as stated in your email. The 21 million gallons is the maximum installed capacity we estimated in the initial Site Certification Application filing. This includes redundant injection wells.[PBCEC RESPONSE: Why would FPL install capacity for three times their expected daily injection? If they will only inject 7 million, why not modify their permit to reflect this lower, supposedly more accurate, intention?]According to the FDEP website, there are more than 125 active Class I UIC wells in Florida. Many of these wells are used to inject Reverse Osmosis reject, which is a waste stream similar in nature to the cooling tower blowdown that will be injected at the WCEC once FDEP approval is final.[PBCEC RESPONSE: According to the EPA, Florida is actually one of the few states in the country (along with Texas) to depend on deep well injection so heavily. The cumulative effects of this technology's widespread use are unknown. Injecting industrial waste into the Earth was not intended to be the policy of the United States or the State of Florida. Initially, in the mid 70's, it was conceived as a stop gap until technology caught up with what to do with the tremendous volumes of waste our society create (It is little wonder that FPL makes hundreds of millions in NET profits annually, if you can just throw your huge volume of waste products into the air, into the water, and into the Earth.)]Reverse Osmosis (RO) is a process for creating drinking water. FPL will be using this water in a heavy industrial setting; the quality control for WCEC's blowdown is not likely to be anywhere close to RO wastewater. In the permit application, FPL is not obligated to monitor the quality of water it will inject. There is no existing plant that uses this technology for wastewater, and, as stated previously, the permit has not yet been approved. This system has not been deemed safe by FDEP. In fact it is being contested by local residents and environmentalists, including the PBCEC.]Regarding noise, the plant complies with Palm Beach County noise ordinances for an industrial facility during design, testing, initial startup and plant operation. During initial startup, FPL conducts what we call "steam blows," which occasionally can be heard and the steam viewed from adjacent nearby locations. However, these events don't last very long and we would advise the community of the schedule in advance of the plant testing activities.
Regarding the natural gas pipeline and safety issues, Gulfstream has demonstrated a commitment to safe, reliable deliveries of natural gas. In fact, since being placed into service in 2002, Gulfstream has never had a pipeline incident. The Gulfstream pipeline is monitored 24-hours a day, 365 days a year as part of its comprehensive safety program. This program includes periodic maintenance inspections and regular patrols by pipeline personnel.[PBCEC RESPONSE: The claim that natural gas pipelines are safe is certainly contestable. Ask surviving members of the family in Carlsbad, NM, where, in 2000, twelve people, including five children, died as a result of the explosion. The explosion left an 86 foot long crater. The U.S. Office of Pipeline Safety had conducted a standard inspection in July, 1996 and began a System Integrity Inspection (SII) in May, 2000. There were no violations noted in either inspection. The explosion is thought to have been a result of internal corrosion and over-pressurization of pipes.]According to Gulfstream and statistics from the National Transportation Safety Board and the U.S. Department of Transportation, natural gas pipelines are this country's safest form of energy transportation. Interstate pipelines are regulated by the Florida Department of Transportation's office of pipeline safety, which imposes a broad range of construction and operations standards and specifications.[PBCEC RESPONSE: According to Janet Bridgers, founder/director of Earth Alert, "Natural gas pipeline safety is a myth. The U.S. Office of Pipeline Safety records hundreds of incidents involving gas pipelines each year. You can easily check this by visiting the pipeline statistics page of their website at http://ops.dot.gov." For information on the Carlsbad explosion, visit www.corrosion-doctors.org
/Pipeline/Carlsbad-explosion. .htmAs Bridgers indicates, this is only one case. In the past several years, similar reported explosions have occurred in Texas and California. But most infrastructure accidents go under-reported, unless the casualties make that impossible. It is a risk that the industry knowingly and willingly takes.]
Gulfstream has worked closely with SFWMD and FDEP to design the route for the pipeline to WCEC to minimize impacts to the wetlands. They will incorporate engineering best management practices to protect water bodies that the pipeline may cross. In general, impacts to wetlands due to pipeline installation are temporary in nature.[PBCEC RESPONSE: This permit has also not been issued. Gulfstream recently modified its permit application to request moving from the west side, which is predominantly agricultural land in the EAA (some of which is proposed for large housing developments by landowners known as Lake Point LLC and Mayaca LLC) to the east side of the canal, which is predominantly the protected wild lands of the J.W. Corbett and the DuPuis management areas. The SFWMD has suggested that the switch was made to accommodate CERP 'Everglades Restoration', but, being that the abovementioned developer was the only documented opposition to this pipeline (other than PBCEC) this is highly suspect reasoning. According to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), " …on May 14, 2007, Lake Point, LLC and Mayaca, LLC withdrew their interventions and protests, stating that they have reached an agreement on the Phase III pipeline route with Gulfstream."The levee on the east side of the canal, where the pipe is now proposed, had a blowout this season, due to a few days of steady rain. This is not an uncommon occurrence on the L-8 banks.]
Ultra Low sulfur light oil will be the back up fuel for the plant. Back up fuel will be used should natural gas supply to the site be interrupted. This ensures FPL will be able to continue to provide reliable electric service to its customers. FPL will construct the above-ground, ultra-low sulfur light oil storage tanks with secondary containment and to comply with all applicable local, state and federal standards, which are designed to prevent spills or leaks from being released to the environment.[PBCEC RESPONSE: Remember, this is diesel fuel. It is not a clean energy source; indeed it is the dirtiest, second only to coal. Despite claims of containment and prevention, storing 12.6 million gallons of diesel on site comes with a significant risk level, especially given the adjacent Palm Beach Aggregate blasting operations. From the get-go of this permitting process, we have been requesting the blasting agreement between FPL and the Palm Beach Aggregates —these corporations have refused to make it public.More thoughts on the back-up fuel: although they will be storing 12.6 million gallons on site they are allowed to burn up to 64 million gallons, annually. All will be trucked in by tanker truck at 10,000 gallons per tanker. This calculates to 6,400 new tanker truck trips annually on Southern Boulevard. These millions of gallons of diesel will be parked approx 3000 feet from 14 billion gallons of freshwater in the CERP L-8 reservoir that the taxpayers of Florida paid over 200 million dollars for. One quart of fuel oil contaminates 250 thousand gallons of freshwater.]
In your email you expressed concern that the county tax base will suffer from the loss of tax revenue due to the decline in value of the properties in proximity to the plant. We do not believe this will be the case. The facility is located in an area currently mined for limerock. The only residential properties in the area are at least 0.75 miles east/northeast of the site. No residents exist south or west. There are industrial facilities to the north and southeast of the project. In addition to the substantial distance between the project and residential areas, there are a number of utility, water management infrastructure features between the residences and the project. In addition, the site will be buffered from the surroundings with landscape features.[PBCEC RESPONSE: 0.75 miles does not qualify as a substantial distance. This plant's stacks will be the size of 14-story buildings. In addition to decreasing the quality of life, this facility will likely to decrease property value as well. Landscaping features are unlikely to change that.]
You also questioned the zoning for the site. You should know that the site has been zoned for power plant use for years. In fact, it was zoned well before FPL acquired the property. Any modifications beyond the initial zoning brought to the attention of Palm Beach County commissioners were technical issues related to the operation of the plant to increase reliability, environmental protection and plant efficiency. These modifications received a unanimous vote by the commissioners.[PBCEC RESPONSE: The plant was zoned for a merchant power plant by the company Mirant. The Merchant plant was to be 1/10 th the size of FPL's WCEC.Two County Commissioners are now serving prison time for votes related to the Palm Beach Aggregates zoning. The power plant is mentioned in the federal indictments as a factor influencing decisions made by these criminals who acted out of financial self interest. Not surprisingly, those two Commissioners were absent from the 'unanimous' votes on this power plant site. These votes took place in 2002; 3 years before documents on the WCEC would be made public.]
With regards to the need for power, every year, FPL reviews its projections of peak load growth to determine if it will be able to meet the reserve margin capacity and reliability targets in future years. If the projections show that any of the two criteria will fall short, FPL determines if it can meet the shortfall using Demand Side Management (conservation and load control). If the criteria cannot be met with Demand Side Management, FPL then looks at meeting the criteria with additional capacity.The Florida Public Service Commission (FPSC) has sole jurisdiction to determine the need and justification for adding generation capacity. When FPL files for a need determination, the FPSC reviews the request using two main criteria: that the additional capacity is necessary and that the proposed additional generation method is the best and most cost effective alternative. The FPSC issued a Need Order for the West County Energy Center on June 28, 2006 after careful consideration, review and analysis of the data filed by FPL in the need determination process.West County Energy Center is needed for FPL's system because of the large increase in electric demand due to continued growth in the number of customers and in the energy usage of customers. A portion of that growth is in Palm Beach County, which exacerbates an already large imbalance between the electricity consumed in Palm Beach County and the electricity generated in Palm Beach County (less than 17% of the consumed electricity is generated in Palm Beach County, the remaining 83% has to be imported into the county). This growing imbalance is one of the key reasons why generation is needed in Palm Beach County.[PBCEC RESPONSE: FPL has stated that they are accommodating a 30% increase in personal energy consumption. How does this fit into the conservation component of 'demand side management'? FPL states that this plant's first 2500 MW would generate power for 466,000 homes. This level of development could only be accommodated by land in the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) which is not zoned for residential development. Why is FPL planning on a load increase that would be in violation of the County's Comprehensive Plan for growth management?Moreover, growth projections for Palm Beach County have changed in recent years. What would it means for ratepayers if this plant is built without the customer base to absorb the costs?Why doesn't FPL's new Barley Barber plant in Martin County offer the grid balance that FPL references? There is no hardship in importing electricity across County lines, except, perhaps, where the tax revenue ends up. But what kind of County Commission would sacrifice the environment, public health, quality of life and the global climate just for some increased tax base?!? (that's supposed to be a joke…]In conclusion, I understand that you have concerns regarding the power plant and I hope that this information helps. I reiterate my offer to discuss your concerns with you and Ms. Brooks. Thank you for your time and consideration.
Director of Environmental Licensing
561 691 - 7518[PBCEC NOTE: Although we have filed several legal challenges to this plant, we believe the issue can and should be resolved through open dialogue and debate. We invite and encourage communication with FPL, FDEP and the Governor—all of whom have the power to stop construction of this plant.]
This document was a collaborative effort produced by local residents and volunteers with the Palm Beach County Environmental Coalition.
By Kristi E. Swartz
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Thursday, October 18, 2007
CORAL GABLES - A group of Palm Beach County environmental activists turned up at a renewable-energy conference in Coral Gables this morning to protest Florida Power & Light Co.'s plans to build a natural gas-fired power plant near Loxahatchee.
Panagioti Tsolkas and four other members of the Palm Beach County Environmental Coalition tried to stand in the hallway near a meeting room at the Westin Colonnade Hotel where the 2007 Renewable Energy Conference is being held today, and display signs for the 200-some
attendees to see.
Hotel staff quickly grabbed Tsolkas by the arm and began shuffling him through the hotel and outside.
He and the other members planted themselves in front of the hotel for about 30 minutes displaying a sage-green sheet directed at Gov. Charlie Crist that read, "Hey, Charlie, don't pass gas on the Everglades." "I have a lot of respect for the governor, and he should be aware of what's going on," Tsolkas said.
As attorney general, Crist was one of the state Cabinet members that unanimously signed off on FPL's plans to build a natural gas plant in Palm Beach County. Under the guidance of Boca Raton attorney Barry Silver, Tsolkas and others have filed federal and state lawsuits contending that the plant's impact on the environment and global warming was not taken into consideration.
"We wanted to get a message to the governor," Silver said. "I think he got the message." Crist had been scheduled to give a keynote address this morning at the conference, but remained in Tallahassee to work with legislators convened in a special session.
FPL spokesman Mayco Villafana said today FPL that the West County Energy Center will be state-of-the-art and have the latest emission controls. He added that building another plant, especially in Palm Beach County, is necessary to support all of Florida's growth.
FPL is adding between 80,000 and 100,000 customers a year, 13,000 alone in Palm Beach County.
"It's a clean energy, and the emissions will be well below the established limits," Villafana said.
As of 1:45 p.m., shares in FPL parent FPL Group Inc. (NYSE: FPL) were trading at $63.07, down 17 cents.
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
*Letter to Governor Crist announces a 10 day countdown
*October 18th, Call to Climate Action in Miami!
*Anti-FPL Halloween Costume Party-Protest
-Rock Mines/EAA Plan (LINK ADDED 10/3)
-Lox Refuge License Agreement.
-Nuke Whistleblower Shines Light on FPL
-Fundraising: yard sale/moon fest
This past week our legal efforts surrounding FPL's plant being built in Loxahatchee were expanded to include multiple administrative challenges to the DEP's permit for deep well injection on the WCEC site. This is billions of gallons of water that will not be cleaned and will not be available for a drought-stricken ecosystem. This wastewater could be causing severe harm to the pristine waterways that are flowing below the ground and, many believe, could potentially compromise drinking wells in the region.
Our administrative challenge to the Gulfstream pipeline has been extremely effective, causing the entire permit to require new review, and a whole new public noticing process. Just this week, the levee along the L-8 proposed to hold the buried pipe blew out from heavy
rains (not the first time.)
Lastly, our federal challenge is gathering momentum and we expect to be joined by some other groups and attorneys soon.
Since last meeting, several members have been circulating petitions against FPL's WCEC. Over a hundred have been collected already, showing that there is a growing, educated public presence opposed to this plant. A stack of these were turned into the County Commission at this months 'Matter by the Public.' Attached to this email is a copy of the newly formatted petition that anyone can print out, get filled and return at the next PBCEC meeting. A petition opposing the plant is also online: http://www.ipetitions.com
*Letter to Governor Crist…
A letter was sent letting Crist know that we have appreciated the stand he took on environmental issues earlier this year, but we are growing disillusioned. If the Governor is serious about reducing Greenhouse Gases, it means looking at the largest polluters and stopping them. If Crist cannot take a stand against this huge, dirty power plant that is illegally under construction in the Everglades, than we feel that he may not deserve support from the environmental community. We have given him ten days to respond to our letter, if he does not explain his position, than we will assume that he is complicit. Read the full letter at:
*Oct 18th Call to Climate Action in Miami
Governor Crist will be speaking at the "Renewable Energy—Trends in Global Innovation and Finance" conference is being held in Coral Gables, Miami on October 18th. If Crist expresses his intent to work with us in stopping the WCEC, we will applaud his determination and commitment to protect the sensitive ecosystems of south Florida and curb the coming climate catastrophe; if he does not stand with us, and instead expresses allegiance to the corporate green-washers, we will expose his short-lived sincerity. The conference can be registered for at the below link (it's expensive!) The PBCEC will be planning for some sort of public presence and press conference on this day. Get in touch for details.
*FPL Halloween Costume Protest-Party
The Everglades Earth First! group is hosting this shindig at the FPL's corporate offices in Juno Beach, from 4:30-6pm
-Rock Mines/Everglades Ag Area (EAA) Plan
The Rinker proposal was tabled; Ken Todd was requested to elaborate on the study (call and ask for a copy at 355-4060). At our meeting it was asked if we have a common vision for the EAA. It was generally agreed that we all support a flow way, similar to what is known as 'Plan 6' in CERP-speak, or the 'Marshall Plan', which rock-mining couls severely inhibit. It was also mentioned that the outcome of 'the Sector' Plan battle in the Acreage area could set a precedent for what's to come, zoning-wise, in the EAA. Keep an hear out for this item at the County.
Check out this interesting article on the future of the EAA:
-5 Year Update on the Lox Refuge License Agreement
Tuesday, October 16, 2007, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., South County Regional Civic Center, the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge [LNWR] will be hosting a public workshop for the South Florida Water Management District and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service License Agreement. As part of the license agreement performance measures, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) must present a 5-Year update on the various refuge programs. There will be powerpoint presentations on exotic vegetation controls, research, water quality, fire, public use, law enforcement, and water coordination efforts with other governmental agencies. The public is invited to attend and learn about Refuge management programs. The South County Regional Civic Center is located at 16700 Jog Road, Delray Beach, just south of Linton Road on the east side of Jog Road.
For additional information, please visit the refuge website at
http://Loxahatchee.fws.gov or call the Administration Office at (561) 732-3684.
-Nuke Whistleblower Shines Light on FPL
There was great coverage of the weekend events
Palm Beach County tax payers spent 100 millions dollars to purchase land in the supposed Ag Reserve in South Palm Beach County; now Commissioner Burt Aaronson has led an effort to open the area to development. Tell him what you think: email@example.com
Get with local activists to go and collect signatures, contacts:
If you haven't signed it yet, do it immediately:
YARD SALE NEXT SATURDAY! If you can donate items, call 561-588-9666. Also, on October 27th, we have been invited to work the beer concession at Moon Fest in downtown West Palm. We need 15 committed volunteers, so again please call 588-9666 immediately to confirm availability.
Congressman ROBERT WEXLER GIVES "A REPORT FROM WASHINGTON" - TUESDAY,
OCTOBER 9. Citizens for Social Responsibility invites you to hear Congressman Robert Wexler, who will give "A Report from Washington" on Tues, Oct 9 at 1:00 PM. This is CSR's 1st meeting of the 2007-8 season. The meeting will take place at the South County Civic Center, 16700 Jog Rd, Delray Beach 33446. Refreshments will be served. For further information, contact Bobbi Graff at BobbiGraff0233@aol.com.
Wexler signed onto the letter
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
YOU THOUGHT HALLOWEEN WAS SCARY??
…Wait ‘till you hear
Brings costumes, noisemakers, signs and banners to the
Juno Beach FPL Office,
on US 1 and
Followed by A Halloween Party, location TBA
For more info: EvergladesEarthFirst@gmail.com
Governor Charlie Crist
RE: WILL YOU HELP CURB GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS?
Dear Governor Crist:
The Palm Beach County Environmental Coalition (PBCEC) is thrilled to finally have a Governor who speaks out for the environment. Your state-wide initiative to curb greenhouse gases is a breath of fresh air which our coalition strongly supports.
While we applaud your efforts to confront this unprecedented threat to our planet, our concerns about the West County Energy Center (WCEC) have been ignored by your office, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), and other State agencies. The emission of an estimated 8.5 to 13.5 million tons of greenhouse gases per year, millions of tons of other noxious gases released just a stone’s throw away from the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge, and the consumption of over 6.5 billion gallons of water each year by this power plant flies in the face of your stated initiatives, and cannot be ignored. Your initiatives to require state agencies to become more energy efficient, while ignoring this massive assault upon the atmosphere, is equivalent to serving a cool drink to the passengers of the Titanic before it hits the iceberg. Moreover, this power plant is unnecessary because it was designed in large part to serve the needs of a predicted population growth in
Under the previous administration such comments by the DEP and acquiescence from the Governor’s office were typical. However, we expect much more from your enlightened leadership. Moreover, under the recent decision of the Commonwealth of Massachusettes vs. the EPA, the United States Supreme Court has ruled that the emission of greenhouse gases can no longer be ignored by agencies which are entrusted to protect our air, land and water, such as the Florida DEP. Thus Mr. Sole’s comments are not only irresponsible, they are also a flagrant violation of the law. As our coalition successfully spearheaded the legal and political challenge against the State’s effort to place Scripps on Mecca Farms, our coalition is now mobilizing our community to oppose this unnecessary power plant. Once the people have been informed about this issue, they have rallied to our side. We have also filed several legal challenges to the WCEC. As with Scripps, we expect a victory in this effort as well. While we succeeded in our struggle to move Scripps off of Mecca Farms, this came only after the State and County squandered over $100 million of taxpayer’s dollars in their futile defense and plans to move forward with this ill-fated decision, and is a large part of the reason why the State must now hold a special session to try to recoup this expenditure form the taxpayers. If you want to lower taxes in this special session, pull the plug on the power plant, encourage conservation and the use of alternative energy, and then you won’t have to cut vital services such as law enforcement, wildlife management, education and critically needed services to the poor.
We appreciate your stated desire to combat climate change, and have publicly stated so. However, should you not advise us within 10 days of this letter of your agreement to work with us to pull the plug on the WCEC, we shall inform the public of the discrepancy between your words and deeds on this vital issue. We would much prefer to be able to inform the public that they have a Governor who is making great strides in environmental protection and lowering taxes, and whose deeds are consistent with his lofty statements. Thus we eagerly anticipate your cooperation, and stand ready to commit all of our resources to working with you to accomplish your worthy goals.
Barry Silver and Panagioti Tsolkas, co-chairs of the PBCEC
cc: Sierra Club, Audubon Society, 1000 Friends of Florida, WWF et al.