Court overturns state’s approval of proposed Turkey Point plans

FPL's Turkey Point plant overlooks Biscayne Bay.

FPL’s Turkey Point plant overlooks Biscayne Bay.

Florida Power & Light’s quest to add two new reactors and miles of new transmission lines at its Turkey Point plant south of Miami experienced a major setback Wednesday when an appellate court overturned a state decision that would have permitted the reactors.

While the 2014  approval of Units 6 & 7 by Gov. Rick Scott and his Cabinet found the project would not harm the Everglades  or wetlands and would not impact endangered birds such as the snail kite and the wood stork,  the court disagreed.

To read the 28-page ruling, click here.

The Third District Court of Appeal reversed the state’s approval of nuclear Units 6 and 7 in an appeal brought by the City of Miami, the Village of Pinecrest and Miami-Dade County.

The court remanded the case and found the board failed to apply Miami’s applicable land development regulations, failed to properly apply environmental regulations and erroneously thought it did not have the power to require FPL to install miles of power lines underground at FPL’s expense.

“FPL presented no competent substantial evidence that the project could satisfy the environmental performance standards” of Miami-Dade County rules, Judge Ivan Fernandez wrote in the ruling.

The siting board, which approves new power plants, is made up of Gov. Scott and his Cabinet, consisting of Attorney General Pam Bondi, Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam.

The board also approved  FPL’s plan to install miles of new transmission lines, which the court said pose an additional hazard for birds which could collide with the poles and lines.

FPL spokesman Peter Robbins said in an email Wednesday, “The Siting Board adopted a well-reasoned decision of the Administrative Law Judge and issued the Certification for these critically important electrical transmission facilities. We are disappointed by the Court’s decision reversing the Siting Board and remanding the matter back to the Siting Board for further proceedings on the transmission facilities. We are reviewing the court’s opinion and will be evaluating our legal options.”

By the end of this year, FPL customers will have paid $247 million towards units 6 and 7. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has not yet issued the operating license for the project slated to be completed by 2028.

Juno Beach based FPL’s Turkey Point plant is home to two nuclear reactors, known as units 3 and 4. The plant’s two-by-five mile unlined earthen cooling canal system has caused an underwater saltwater plume that has spread roughly 5 miles west of the plant, an administrative law judge found in February.

The cooling canals have been linked to pollutants in Biscayne Bay and into ground water, according to data released by Miami-Dade County.