FPL power plant in Hendry county
An application will be voted on today by the Commissioners of Hendry County, Florida to permit yet another Florida Power and Light (FPL) power plant to be constructed in our region. Unlike the two new nuclear generators we recently wrote about (Turkey Point - on the shores of Biscayne Bay and adjacent to Biscayne National Park), this new application (the “Hendry County Clean Energy Center” – 3,750 Megawatts of natural gas generation plus a small amount of solar) concerns the potential loss of approximately 3,000 acres of primary habitat for the critically endangered Florida panther. See recent article in the Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel:
This map supplied by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) showing panthers killed by motor vehicles within 25 miles of the proposed site indicates the location (three have been killed at the entrance to the property):
Another map from FWS shows incidents of “intraspecific aggression” – or panther on panther fights to the death over dwindling habitat – in the same area:
Years of work by generations of Floridians and public investment in the hundreds of millions of dollars have created a vast network of protected lands in the vicinity of this project. These lands offer recreation, solitude, and natural beauty to residents and visitors, as well as habitat for south Florida’s unparalleled biodiversity. They include: the Big Cypress National Preserve to the south; the Southern Gardens Citrus property (the biggest part of the 200 million dollar land purchase recently made by the State of Florida for the purpose of Everglades restoration) to the east; the Rotenberger and Holeyland Wildlife Management Areas, and the South Florida Water Management District Storm Water Treatment Areas 3,4,5 and 6 further east; and the Dinner Island Wildlife Management Area and Okaloacoochee (OK) Slough State Forest to the northwest.
The land at the heart of this controversy has long been sought by folks concerned about the panther and the many animals that share its habitat (e.g. fox squirrel, wood stork, Florida black bear, white tailed deer, wild turkey, snail kite, eastern indigo snake and numerous others). The vision has been to publicly acquire this land or place a conservation easement on it. As Florida panthers (and other critters who live under the panther's "umbrella") have little regard for lines drawn on a map, this would serve to permanently unite the diverse public lands described above into a single unfragmented habitat. Placing what would be the largest fossil fuel plant in the United States – the industrial equivalent of the Great Pyramids – in the middle of these lands is simply unthinkable (as well as unconscionable).
HOW TO HELP
Citing the need to create immediate jobs (while temporary new jobs would be created during the construction phase, the automated gas plant would run with a staff of only about 60 workers), the Planning and Zoning Committee of Hendry County has already made a unanimous recommendation to the full commission to grant a change of zoning for this piece of undeveloped land. We fully expect the Hendry County Commission to follow suit. However, the good news is that Florida Power and Light is not the owner of this property – nor are they “the applicant”. The current owner of the property is Virginia Beach based developer Eddie Garcia – who would of course sell the property to FPL once it was permitted. Florida Power and Light has indicated they are very much on the fence with regard to their interest in this project.
Here’s our suggestion – let’s give FPL a good push off the fence. Send an email to Lewis Hay, CEO and Chairman of Florida Power and Light, and tell him NO NEW POWER PLANTS IN FLORIDA PANTHER HABITAT! (no time limit - obtaining the necessary federal and state permits will not happen quickly)
email@example.com - (note - there is an underscore _ between lew and hay).
Or you can use FPL’s “Contact Us” page here:
Click – “Other”
Click – “How can I contact FPL?”
Click – “Click here to view our contact information”
Under Email Us – select “Other”
Fill out the form with your contact information and click “Submit” (I know – they didn’t exactly make the process easy).
In your email to the company, you might also reference FPL’s own informative page on the Florida panther where the company cites “continuing loss of habitat” as among the “biggest threats” to the species:
In 1982, Florida’s school children overwhelmingly voted the panther as our state animal. With the recent declaration by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that the eastern cougar is extinct, the Florida panther is now officially the only big cat left in the eastern United States. Unfortunately, with only about 100 animals remaining, development in rural Florida still causes the panther’s habitat to shrink by almost 1 percent per year. Panther scientists are virtually unanimous in their belief that existing habitat is the bare minimum necessary to sustain the species. If the Endangered Species Act is to have any meaning (and offer any help to the much beleaguered Florida panther), it’s high time to draw the line.
In addition to contacting FPL, folks who are able can make a donation (any amounts are appreciated) to South Florida Wildlands Association to help us in this fight - and the many others we are engaged in. Donations can be made here –
South Florida Wildlands Association
P.O. Box 30211
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33303