Thursday, 24 May 2007 01:00
Coal Plant ChallengeWritten by WGCU Newsroom
The Conservancy of Southwest Florida is preparing a legal challenge against Florida Power & Light’s proposed coal fueled power plant in Glades County.
Conservancy President – Andrew McElwaine – says they’re specifically appealing Glades County’s determination that the massive plant is consistent with growth management plans. And he says while he recognizes the state’s growing energy demands, this plant is not a proper solution…
“Now a smaller plant that represented the best technology like an integrated combined cycle plant I think we’d be open to discussing that with Florida Power & Light. But no this plant. This plant is really above and beyond what is appropriate for that landscape.”
FPL calls the proposed plant -quote “clean coal technology” – because it would burn powdered coal at super-high temperatures.
McElwaine says no matter what you call it…the plant would still emit nearly 200 pounds of mercury a year, in an environmentally sensitive area that’s already under mercury advisories. Glades commissioners…and many residents…support the plant – pointing to the economic benefit it would bring to the rural county.
A state administrative judge will be in Moore Haven beginning June 5th to hear from challengers and defenders of the proposed plant, which would sit about 5 miles from the small, rural town on the edge of Lake Okeechobee.
The massive coal burning power plant proposed by Florida Power & Light for rural Glades County continues to draw fire from environmental groups.
The Conservancy of Southwest Florida says the plant is inconsistent with state and local growth management plans – and will be among the challengers at an administrative hearing set to begin June 5th in Moore Haven.
Conservancy President - Andrew McElwaine – says FPL’s proposal is the wrong choice.
“Glades County wants the power plant and I understand why, and we’re not against a power plant per se…we are against a 1.9 gigawatt pulverized coal plant that is not the latest technology.”
Called clean-burning by FPL…the plant would burn powdered coal at extremely high temperatures. It would be the biggest of its kind in the U-S.
McElwaine says clean-burning or not, it would still add roughly 200 pounds of mercury a year to a local ecosystem that’s already under mercury advisories.
In addition to the administrative hearing next month in Moore Haven the project also awaits sanction from the Florida Public Service Commission, which regulates utilities. Governor Charlie Crist and his cabinet have the final say on the matter.