Friday, November 19, 2010

Coalition opposes nuclear expansion near Biscayne & Everglades National Parks

City of South Miami Mayor Phillip Stoddard (ctr.) called FPL's proposed nuclear reactors an "economic scam."
A coalition of citizens, civic organizations and public officials spoke out against FPL’s proposed expansion of two nuclear reactors between Everglades and Biscayne National Parks. The groups gathered in front of Homestead City Hall where a three-judge panel from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission heard arguments from several of the groups’ lawyers Friday.

Representatives of the Sierra Club Miami Group, Tropical Audubon Society, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, 1 Sky Florida, Everglades Law Center, Save it Now, Glades!, National Parks Conservation Association and the South Florida Wildlands Association hosted the press conference.
Speakers ran through the litany of economic and environmental reasons why the new nuclear reactors should not be built.

Mark Oncavage, energy chair for the Sierra Club Miami Group and a personal litigant, said that the plant would cycle large amounts of partially-treated sewage through six cooling towers proposed for Turkey Point. He said the NRC “must accept all medical and financial responsibilities” should they approve the plant.

City of South Miami Mayor Phillip Stoddard said the new power plant would increase rates by 70 percent while only covering 10 percent of electric consumption. He called the FPL project which will cost rate payers $31 million starting in January 2011 an “economic scam.”

The two new reactors at Turkey Point would cost an estimated $22 billion and would increase water demands by more than 90 million gallons a day.

Sara Barczak of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy said that increasing energy efficiency was a much better alternative that would create jobs.

Captain Dan Kipnis, another intervener and Chair of the Economic, Social and Health Committee for the Miami-Dade Climate Change Advisory Task Force, said the nuclear power plants would soon be underwater because of sea level rise “Don’t put it there,” he said. “You know it’s gonna flood.”

The plant expansion could impact more than 800 acres of wetlands and require office tower-tall transmission lines along the edge of Everglades National Park. Turkey Point is located on the edge Biscayne National Park, the continental United State’s largest underwater park, and minutes from Everglades National Park.

Three organizations gave legal arguments Friday. They included: the Everglades Law Center and Emory University School of Law’s Turner Environmental Law Clinic, CASE/Citizens Allied for Safe Energy and the Village of Pinecrest. The administrative judges must decide whether the litigants concerns warrant an evidentiary hearing in the future. A decision is expected by January of next year.

-- Jonathan Ullman, South Florida/Everglades Senior Organizer

Here's CBS 4 in Miami's story