Partial win at FPL Hendry County proposed power plant 2016-04-12

Local opposition has gotten a proposed FPL fracked methane power plant away from the Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation, and part of FPL’s site converted to a proposed solar plant. More can be done, but this shows county commissions can fight even mighty FPL, plus Sabal Trail’s pipeline, the likely source of the gas.

FPL wanted rezoning March 8th, but Hendry County Commissioners postponed it until April 12th, which is tomorrow. Eileen Soler, Seminole Tribune, 29 March 2016, Another delay for Hendry FPL plant hearing,

The most significant change is FPL’s new plan to use the 3,127-acre area for solar power generation only, at least for 10 years. The solar panels and associated apparatus will be no higher than 20 feet tall and staged no less than 100 feet from County Road 833 and the north border of Big Cypress, according to documents.

A massive gas-powered electric plant — one of the largest in the United States — was originally planned for the site.

Yay!

But FPL hasn’t completely given up on fracked methane power generation:

The power company also owns about 4,500 acres north of the proposed solar plant location flanked by several plots that still belong to McDaniel Ranch. During a Feb. 8 Big Cypress community meeting, FPL representatives used a map to illustrate that the original and larger plant, complete with three 15-story steam towers, would be moved to the northern site.

“We’re committed to being a good neighbor in the communities we serve” read a handout provided by FPL to community residents. “Under the current draft agreement, FPL would limit future power generation on our southern property to low-profile solar facilities only.” The handout also stated “FPL’s potential natural gas-fueled power plant would be moved approximately 3 miles farther away.”

Yet apparently citizen pressure is working:

About a dozen protesters walked March 8 in front of the Clewiston city commission chambers where county commissioners met inside.

“They (commissioners) need to retire from their jobs if they think they represent any of us,” said protester Samuel Tommie, a Tribal citizen and Big Cypress resident. “The fact that [FPL] will be polluting the water and destroying God’s creation should be enough to stop them.”

Commissioners did not discuss the issue but Hendry County Planning and Community Development Director Margaret Emblidge stated that the gas generation plant originally planned for the south property was off the table.

The name of the facility has also been changed from Hendry Next Generation Clean Energy Center to Hendry Solar Energy Center.

Still, concerned citizens, including Tommie, spoke publicly against the plant during a public comment period.

“You need to stop the rezoning and consider what is really happening. You will be opening the door and inviting the gas power plant to come in later on,” Tommie said.

And does FPL not have enough land elsewhere where they’ve already cut everything down?

Ruddy Kijewsky, who represented Everglades Earth First, said the promise of solar power is not good enough.

“We need to remind people what industrial solar power will look like because it will still cut a swath through sensitive land. It will still be destructive,” Kijewsky said.

It’s on their agenda as four items:

  1. PUBLIC HEARINGS
    1. Petition Number: CPA15-0001

      Applicant: Florida Power & Light Company c/o Chad Little, FPL Development, represented by Ethel D. Hammer, Engelhardt, Hammer & Associates, Inc.

      Request: Amending the Hendry County Comprehensive Plan, specifically by amending the Future Land Use Element by adding a new Future Land Use Category, Electrical Generating Facility and amending the Industrial Future Land Use Category.

    2. Petition Number: CPA15-0002

      Applicant: Florida Power & Light Company c/o Chad Little, FPL Development, represented by Ethel D. Hammer, Engelhardt, Hammer & Associates, Inc.

      Location: CR 833, north of the Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation
      1334722A000002.0000; 1334721A000002.0000;
      1334720A000002.0000; 1334729A000002.0000;
      1334728A000002.0000; 1334727A000002.0000;
      1334734A000002.0000; 1334733A000003.0000;
      1334733A000001.0000; 1334728A000001.0000;
      13347350200000-002.0

      Project size: 3,127 acres +/-

      Request: Amending the Hendry County Comprehensive Plan, specifically by amending the Future Land Use Element by adding a new subarea policy to identify specific details applicable to the Hendry Solar Energy Center on 3,127+/- acres.

    3. Petition Number: CPA15-0003

      Applicant: Florida Power & Light Company c/o Chad Little, FPL Development, represented by Ethel D. Hammer, Engelhardt, Hammer & Associates, Inc.

      Location: CR 833, north of the Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation
      1334722A000002.0000; 1334721A000002.0000;
      1334720A000002.0000; 1334729A000002.0000;
      1334728A000002.0000; 1334727A000002.0000;
      1334734A000002.0000; 1334733A000003.0000;
      1334733A000001.0000; 1334728A000001.0000;
      13347350200000-002.0

      Project size: 3,127 acres +/-

      Request: Amending the Hendry County Comprehensive Plan, specifically by changing the Future Land Use Map, more specifically by changing approximately 3,127+/- acres of land designated as Agriculture to a New Electrical Generating facility to be known as the Hendry Solar Energy Center.

    4. Petition Number: RZ15-0004

      Applicant: Florida Power & Light Company c/o Chad Little, FPL Development, represented by Ethel D. Hammer, Engelhardt, Hammer & Associates, Inc.

      Location: West side of CR 833, south of CR 846

      Project size: 3,127 acres +/-

      Request: The applicant is requesting a rezone on the subject properties from General Agriculture (A-2) to the Planned Unit Development (PUD) zoning district.

The entire agenda packet is online, and the materials for the FPL public hearings are also available separately.

This is the power plant Bobbie C. Billie of the Original Miccosukee Simanolee Nation and Shannen Larson told us about 400 miles away in Leesburg, GA in July 2014, and that has been opposed by Earth First! since 2008. EPA asked FERC if Sabal Trail would be the source of fracked methane for this plant.

This rezoning story found by Loretta Tennant.

-jsq

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