FPL Customers Potentially on Hook for Over $200 Million in Environmental Clean Up Costs at Turkey Point Plant
Customers shouldn’t pay for FPL’s legacy of negligence and deception argues SACE
Late yesterday, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) filed its brief with the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) arguing that customers should not have to pay for the clean up of an underground contamination plume created by Florida Power & Light’s (FPL) negligent operation of the cooling canals at its Turkey Point nuclear power plant for decades. FPL knew or should have known as early as 1978 that the operation of the cooling canals at the Turkey Point plant south of Miami was creating a hyper-saline plume that was polluting the Biscayne Aquifer – the drinking water resource for South Florida – but it failed to act for almost 40 years. Over 500 FPL customers have filed letters with the Commission stating that FPL customers shouldn’t have to pay for the company’s mistakes.
Moreover, the company in 2009 misled regulators, both the South Florida Water Management District and the Public Service Commission, on the magnitude of its environmental problem – the clean up is now projected to cost over $200 million. Stunningly, FPL is requesting that customers pay. SACE, Office of Public Counsel, and industrial users filed briefs in opposition to FPL’s unfair request. The Commission will consider the briefs filed yesterday by SACE and other parties in the Environmental Cost Recovery Clause docket and will render a final decision on FPL’s request on December 12, 2017.
In a related development on SACE’s Clean Water Act lawsuit on the impact of FPL’s hyper-saline contamination plume on Biscayne Bay, conservation groups, including SACE, in early August were issued an order by Magistrate Judge Alicia M. Otazo-Reyes, allowing their federal Clean Water Act lawsuit filed against FPL in July 2016 to move onto the next level. A hearing has now been scheduled for this Thursday at 10:00am by Judge Darrian P. Gayles at the Wilkie D. Ferguson United States Courthouse, 400 North Miami Avenue, Courtroom 11-1. The Plaintiffs expect an endorsement of the earlier magistrate Judge’s ruling, which would allow the Clean Water Act case to move forward and discovery to begin and to go to trial in 2018.