Thursday, October 23, 2008

DEP cancels public hearing scheduled for October 27 in Wellington; refuses citizen input on the expansion of debated FPL West County Energy Center

Environmental and community activists request public meeting at local DEP office, demand a voice in the process

For immediate release 10/24/08

Contacts: Barry Silver (561) 302-1818
Panagioti Tsolkas (561) 588-9666

West Palm Beach, FL- A public hearing on the certification of Unit 3 of FPL's West County Energy Center (WCEC) was originally announced for 1pm at the Wellington Community Center in front of an Administrative Law Judge. It has since been cancelled under the direction of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, who oversees the power plant siting process. In place of the hearing, the Palm Beach County Environmental Coalition (PBCEC), which has contested the WCEC for 2 years, has requested a public meeting 1pm at the regional DEP office in West Palm Beach at 400 North Congress. All are invited to join in making this request to have their concerns heard.

"We are outraged with DEP's acquiescence to FPL throughout the process of approving this project. This is the largest fossil fuel power plant in the country, and it is being built 1000 feet from the functional headwaters of the remaining Everglades." Says PBCEC co-chair Panagioti Tsolkas. "For the DEP to claim that there are 'no outstanding issues' is completely absurd."

The PBCEC contends that there are several disputed issues relevant to the certification of WCEC unit 3 including further fossil fuel dependency in violation of Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council policy. Other concerns include the ignored input from Fish and Wildlife Commission biologists regarding cumulative and secondary impacts, the injection of a new source of industrial wastewater into the aquifer, and failure to sufficiently address greenhouse gas pollution and climate change impacts. The group is preparing a comprehensive proposal for an alternative to the WCEC site certification, including units 1 and 2, which are all facing a challenge in federal court scheduled for early next year.

The PBCEC entered several supporting documents into DOAH records regarding their concerns. These are available on-line, along with a response from FPL, at:

Several PBCEC concerns were also included in a recent letter to DEP Secretary Mike Sole and Governor Crist's office, which can be viewed at:


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