Friday, May 23, 2008

Legal challenge to be filed against FPL's West County Energy Center in Federal court today; 4pm Press Conference

For Immediate Release: May 23, 2008
Contacts: Barry Silver, P.A. (561) 302-1818, David Reiner, P.A. (305) 670-8282,

West Palm Beach, FL- Today, at 4pm, the Palm Beach County Environmental Coalition will be filing a Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief regarding their concerns with FPL's proposed West County Energy Center (WCEC ). A press conference will take place at the Paul F. Rogers Federal Building and US Courthouse, 701 Clematis Street Room 402. The Coalition believes that the power plant and its adjacent pipeline have been illegally under construction since they broke ground last year. The group has pending Administrative Challenges involving three permits at the state level, against the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). Today they file in Federal court to address, primarily, the failure of the project to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the lack of an Environmental Impact Statement to assess cumulative and secondary impacts related to the pipeline and power plant. The complaint also addresses violations of RICO and Florida Sunshine Law.

According to plaintiff with the PBCEC, Alexandria Larson: "This project will contribute 12.3 million tons of CO2 to the atmosphere; consume 6.5 billion gallons of water; and store 18.9 million gallons of diesel fuel oil on-site, across from the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge." Larson continues, "The plant will need 34 miles of high pressure 36-inch gas pipeline, pumping 345,000dekatherms a day, coming within a mile of Lake Okeechobee, and 290 feet from rock-blasting operations. It's a Molotov cocktail... And it is enough power for over a million new homes spilling across the Everglades Agricultural Area. Where are the cumulative impact reviews!?"

PBCEC Plaintiff, and Co-Chair of the group, Panagioti Tsolkas, added "FPL could be installing solar panels on urban building, as they were told to do last week by the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council. Instead we get more fossil fuel infrastructure sprawling out into our Everglades. This plant will cost ratepayers and taxpayers a fortune to construct and maintain. Gas and oil are the absolute wrong directions for a sustainable energy future. This project never should have broken ground."

The full complaint, along with comments from plaintiffs and attorneys, will be available at the 4pm press conference, in front of the Federal Building on Clematis Street, downtown West Palm Beach.

The other three legal challenges are pending decisions in the Fourth District Court of Appeals and are related to:
-Environmental Resource Permit (ERP) issued by DEP for the Gulfstream phase III gas pipeline
-Underground Injection Control (UIC) permit for a deep-well injection system on the WCEC site
-Gopher Tortoise Relocation permit issued by FWC for impacting tortoises and protected comensal species in the pipeline route

On June 16, 2008 PBCEC will host an informative public social event, 7pm at Congregation L'dor V'dor, 7400 Lake Worth Road, Lake Worth. This event will raise awareness about our environmental lawsuits as well the legal cases of FPL protestors going to trial the following Tuesday for their civil disobedience action on the February 18 at the WCEC construction site. All are invited.

XXX

1 comment:

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