Build FPL’s natural gas pipeline or not? –Palm Beach Post

FPL’s hometown newspaper never mentions solar or wind in an opinion piece asking whether you think the Sabal Trail fracked methane pipeline is a good idea. You can comment directly in the newspaper. Maybe you’d like to send your comments to FERC, as well.

Palm Beach Post Opinion Staff wrote yesterday, Should FPL’s natural gas pipeline be built?

NextEra Energy, parent of Florida Power & Light, is contracting with Spectra Energy to run a natural gas pipleine 591 miles through the heart of the state, ending in Martin County.

FPL President Eric Silagy says the company needs the additional pipeline to provide redundancy and added capacity to the state’s existing natural gas pipleines. FPL is now the nation’s largest consumer of natural gas, he says.

It’s curious how FPL’s own projections in its 10-year plan don’t support need for a pipeline of that size, and not clearly for any pipeline. Florida is indeed a huge burner of fracked methane, but that would be a reason to use less, not more. Unfortunately, FPL isn’t spending on solar power while allocating $3 billion for another dangerous and dirty pipeline.

Not content with FPL’s exaggerations, the newspaper added another:

A boom of natural gas production in the United States since 2008 has created over 2 million jobs and helped ignite an economic recovery in many job-thirsty parts of the nation, including Louisiana, Texas and Pennsylvania.

Oh, really, given that in 2012 there were 119,000 jobs in the slar industry, which was more than the 106,400 “production and nonsupervisory employees” in the oil and gas extraction industry. Did the fracked methane industry really add 2 million managers? Nope, to get to millions of jobs, you have to talk about indirect and induced jobs. Well, two can play at that game, and then clean energy wins at supporting more jobs than oil and gas.

Further, the fossil fuel industry is self-impressed with 7.2% oil and gas extraction employment growth in 2013. But solar jobs grew 20% in 2013, more than twice as fast, and ten times faster than the U.S. national average. Well, not so much in Florida, which ranks #39 in solar jobs per capita, actually worse than Georgia at #32. Why is the Sunshine State lagging in deploying solar power? Could it be FPL?

The newspaper throws in an environmental bit:

But natural gas production also poses environmental risks, especially due to the release of methane at well heads, and due to the injection of fracking materials deep under ground.

Yes, fracking is bad. But what about all the environmental hazards posted by FPL’s pipeline in FPL’s home state, as reported in the very same Palm Beach Post?

Yesterday’s opinion piece also brags that “natural gas prices have fallen dramatically” and “The move to gas culminated with the commissioning of the new Riviera Beach Next Generation Clean Energy Center in May. The plant is cleaner — it produces half the carbon dioxide emissions of its predecessor.” It doesn’t say a word about the already-authorized LNG export operations from right there in Martin County and Riviera Beach; exports that if they happen will drive up the price of domestic methane, as T. Boone Pickens said a year ago.

The opinion piece also brags about keeping oil production and adding nukes at Turkey Point in Miami as a way to balance energy sources, without ever saying a word about solar or wind.

Once you’ve waded through the FPL propaganda in the opinion piece, the question is at the end:

On balance, do you believe the natural gas pipeline is an acceptable project that will enable Florida to use less oil and coal?

What do you think? You can comment directly on the article. The newspaper doesn’t decide, but FERC does, so please send your comments to FERC, too.


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