Florida DEP overrules judge, says FPL Turkey Point plan is adequate

FPL's Turkey Point plant overlooks Biscayne Bay.

FPL’s Turkey Point plant overlooks Biscayne Bay.

In a win for Florida Power & Light Co., the Florida Department of Environmental Protection has overturned an administrative law judge’s ruling on a  management  plan for  its Turkey Point Nuclear Plant south of Miami.

It’s the second legal ruling this week related to the site that’s home to two nuclear reactors served by its troubled cooling  canal  system. Approximately 600,000  pounds of salt are  leaving the  earthen cooling canal system  each day.  Over  the years the result has  been an underground plume  of  saltwater that extends five  miles west  of the plant.

In February  an administrative law  judge ruled that the  management plan  the  Florida Department of  Environmental Protection drew up with  FPL was  deficient and  not tough enough. He found that the saltwater plume threatens drinking water and that DEP had failed to address that.

Thursday,  DEP approved the  plan despite the  judge’s order. However, the order signed by DEP Secretary Jonathan Steverson  states, “The record developed during this case raises issues of environmental  concern which  require further consideration.”

To read the ruling, click here.

Steve Torchise Jr., president of Atlantic Civil, which owns  rock mines  affected by the  salt  plume, said in a  statement, This ruling is yet another unfortunate example of the Department of Environmental Protection being too closely connected with the very industry it is tasked with regulating and at the expense of the public good.  An independent judge heard evidence and ruled in our favor and against DEP and now the agency’s secretary has asserted his power to overturn a number of the judge’s decisions.  We will now be forced to assert our position on appeal and we look forward to a level playing field for our legal arguments to be considered.”

Friday, State Representative José Javier Rodríguez (D-Miami) said,  “At a time when more than ever we need state regulators to step up and protect the public instead of continuing to shield FP&L, they’ve chosen to sidestep February’s order to endorse the status quo. This is outrageous and disappointing and I urge them to reconsider and hold FP&L accountable since the current state of affairs at Turkey Point threatens our community’s future water supply and critical ecosystems.”

Rodriguez will be participating in a legislative committee workshop to discuss issues related to the Turkey Point cooling canal system  to be held at 4 p.m. on Friday, April 29 at the Homestead Campus of Miami-Dade College.

Earlier  this  week an appellate  judge  overturned the state’s approval of  miles of power lines  and  infrastrucure that FPL must have to  build  and operate  two new  nuclear reactors at  Turkey  Point.

 

 

 

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