Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

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Florida News

"FPL Seeks Public Funds to Fight Clean Water Rules

TALLAHASSEE, FL - Today, Florida Power and Light (FPL) will appear before the state's Public Service Commission to ask for Florida tax dollars to fund its efforts to fight an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposal to close existing loopholes in the Clean Water Act.

The utility is asking for almost $230,000 to fight the rules, which would affect regulation of cooling ponds at its plants in the state.

Susan Glickman, executive director, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, explains why her organization is asking the state to deny the power company's request: "Water is our most precious resource, and to think that the utility would not only want to weaken water protections, but would want to use ratepayer money against our own interests is really outrageous."

An FPL spokesman says the additional regulation would cost the utility company millions of dollars it would ultimately have to pass on to consumers.

The EPA is expected to issue a final decision on its proposal in November. If approved, it would reinstate rules placed in limbo after two Supreme Court rulings. The court's decision impacted the protection of small streams and wetlands, which can be found throughout the state.

George Cavros, energy policy attorney, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, says the intended purpose of the taxpayer funds for which FPL is applying is to help it comply with environmental regulations, not change them.

"What's different here is that Florida Power and Light, the biggest power company in the state, they are preemptively attacking a draft Clean Water protection rule - and that's just simply not allowed under Florida law," explains Cavros.

Glickman says she hopes the state refuses the utility's request for the money, bucking what she calls a historical trend.

"Utilities seem to get, under this Public Service Commission, everything that they ask for, so why wouldn't they ask for the moon and expect it?" she says. So, we can only hope that the Public Service Commission will understand that this is an outrageous request."

The Florida Public Service Commission is expected to make a decision on the funding request by the end of October.

Photos/graphics and links added by the Observer

Photo: FPL Sanford Power Plant: Umbris Photography

This piece was reprinted by the Columbia County Observer with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.

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