FPL vs. the Everglades: A costly battle

Guest Blog | July 17, 2013 | Energy Policy, Events, Nuclear

This blog was written by Samantha Knapp with the National Parks Conservation Association.

This summer, an Administrative Law Judge will decide whether to let Florida Power & Light (FPL) run power lines through our neighborhoods and Everglades National Park to bring electricity to counties north of us as part of their proposed Turkey Point Expansion.

Not only does FPL plan to add two new reactors to Turkey Point, but their plans of hardening the grid—in response to 40-year-old infrastructure that causes catastrophic blackouts—include a huge transmission line right through the heart of several towns, including South Miami, but also the federally protected Everglades. Many of the locals in Coral Gables, South Miami and the Village of Pinecrest, among others, have been fighting a long fight against one power line slated to go over their houses, but who’s watching the park?

FPL is hoping the National Park Service will hand over pristine wetlands owned by American citizens to build 140-foot poles along the National Park’s eastern border. FPL is essentially proposing a big, bird killing, wetland filling, vista-spoiling power line project in the Everglades. FPL is likely hoping that nobody kicks up much of a fuss about it. Who cares about a “swamp,” anyway? Well, FPL, you may not, but I do, as do many, many others.

I grew up in Florida. I remember summer camp adventures and trips to Shark Valley, seeing a Florida panther and learning how, like the rest of the Everglades, the panther was slated to disappear forever.

NPCA Proposed alternate route does not pass through the Everglades

Just fifteen years later, the Everglades are poised to come back thanks to the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Act—Americans are spending millions of dollars to restore natural flow and bring millions of gallons of freshwater back into Florida. Floridians are working hard to preserve this legacy for their children and grandchildren. A legacy that shouldn’t include FPL’s wetland destruction, threats to endangered species, and power lines within a World Heritage site.

This project must be stopped. Fortunately the Power Plant Siting Act provides for public hearings where concerned citizens can send a message straight to the Judge who decides whether the transmission corridor should be allowed to go forward. This is a great opportunity to come together to protect the Everglades and demonstrate to FPL that their plans are not acceptable. Public hearings are scheduled for:

Wednesday, July 17, 2 – 6 p.m. and 7 – 9 p.m. all at the Keys Gate Golf and Country Club Banquet Hall in Homestead, FL

Thursday, July 18, 6:30 – 9:30 p.m. at the Coral Gables Youth Center in Coral Gables, FL

Tuesday, July 23, 3 – 6 p.m. and 7 – 9 p.m. & Thursday, July 25, 6:30 – 9 p.m. all at the Miami Airport Convention Center, Room MACC 1 in Miami, FL

The Everglades help make Florida a special place that I, and many, many others are proud of. We must be willing to come together to protect this precious wilderness. National Parks Conservation Association’s (NPCA) Alternate Corridor, which stays outside the Park and outside Miami-Dade’s Urban Development Boundary, could help strengthen the boundary against continued urban sprawl. For more information, visit the NPCA’s website and the Audobon Society’s call to action.


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