ADVISORY: Tomorrow Miami-Dade Commission Poised to Greenlight an Inadequate Agreement with Florida Power & Light (FPL) Over Polluting Turkey Point Plant

Jennifer Rennicks | April 9, 2018 | Press Releases

Local organizations to hold a media availability session before vote outlining concerns & needs for agreement to be strengthened because they have been told no public comments will be permitted

Contacts:

Laura Reynolds, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, (786) 543-1926â?¬, lreynolds@conservationconceptsllc.org

Alan Farago, Friends of the Everglades, (305) 778-8765â?¬, alanfarago@me.com

Camila Quaresma, Coconut Grove Chamber of Commerce, (305) 302-2755, camila@sharpdentistry.com

Eleazar Melendez, Miami Climate Alliance, (212) 729-6672, edavidmelendez@gmail.com

Leticia de Mello Bueno, Tropical Audubon Society, (305) 343-6448, communications@tropicalaudubon.org

Sharon Van Smith, Rise Up Florida, (305) 491-7703, svansmith@gmail.com

Susan Windmiller, League of Women Voters of Miami Dade County, (305) 984-6089, susanrwindmiller@gmail.com

Steve Sauls, Biscayne Bay Marine Health Summit Steering Committee, (786) 239-8957, stevesauls1@aol.com

Valerie Robins, Sierra Club Miami Group, (305) 519-1949, flower8349@yahoo.com

Dr. Philip Stoddard, Mayor, City of South Miami, (305) 342-0161, mayorstoddard@gmail.com

State Senator Jose Javier Rodriguez (D-37), (305) 854-0365

 

Miami, Fla. – On Tuesday, April 10 at 9:30 a.m. ET, the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners will convene a Commission meeting which includes a scheduled vote on a controversial Joint Partnership Agreement with Florida Power and Light (FPL) regarding the use of reuse water for the utility’s polluting Turkey Point facility (item 11A3 on the agenda). Local organizations are demanding the inadequate agreement be strengthened before the County approves, otherwise the agreement could pave the way for additional nutrients to be flushed into the aquifer and the Bay. As written, the agreement will also substantially delay the remediation cleanup at Turkey Point resulting in long-term impacts on the region’s drinking water resource, the Biscayne Aquifer, and the health of Biscayne and Everglades National Parks.

WHAT: Because public comment is not being allowed at the meeting, a group of local community and environmental organizations will hold a press availability before the Commission meeting begins, highlighting their concerns about the Joint Partnership Agreement, which unless strengthened, will have negative consequences for Miami-Dade County’s water supply as well as Biscayne Bay and Biscayne National Park.

WHEN: Tuesday, April 10, 2018 at 9 a.m. ET

WHERE: Stephen P. Clark Government Center; 111 NW 1st Street; Commission Chambers; Miami, Florida 33128. Second Floor, outside of the Commission chambers.

WHO: Representatives from Biscayne Bay Marine Health Summit Steering Committee; Coconut Grove Chamber of Commerce Sustainability & Resilience Committee; Friends of the Everglades; League of Women Voters of Miami-Dade County; Miami Climate Alliance; Rise Up Florida; Sierra Club Miami; Southern Alliance for Clean Energy; Tropical Audubon; and State Senator Jose Javier Rodriguez will be available for comment during the morning media availability with some also available following the Commission meeting.

 

Statements from participating and concerned organizations are listed below.

Alan Farago, Conservation Chair, Friends of the Everglades: “This is a make or break moment for Miami-Dade County. Federal regulators are vanishing. State regulators are vanishing. County Commissioners took an oath to serve the public, not to shield a powerful corporate polluter from the consequence of errors it has covered up until now.”

Camila Quaresma-Sharp, Chair, Coconut Grove Chamber of Commerce Sustainability & Resilience Committee: “The solution should be in the best interest of our local communities and the environment, and not just FPL. Our elected officials must consider what is best for the majority of their constituents-and the answer is not the continued pollution of our waterways and the use of unsafe methods to provide energy. FPL’s current methodologies are polluting our pristine Biscayne Bay waterways.”

Eleazar David Meléndez, legislative chair, Miami Climate Alliance: “This agreement robs Peter to pay Paul, putting plans for effective Everglades restoration at risk and basing a commitment to quickly clean up the cooling canals almost solely on FPL’s word that this is a better alternative. As residents looking at the long-haul, and not an immediate political win, we believe substantially more scrutiny and public input is needed to make sure this idea is the best possible course towards a resilient community.”

Erin Clancy, Conservation Director, Tropical Audubon: “We urge the County Commission to take this opportunity to right a wrong – the ongoing pollution emanating from the cooling canal system – and to advance Everglades Restoration projects that need clean, fresh water. If the agreement doesn’t include these details, it is unlikely it will ever be done. With the potential extended use of Turkey Point reactors 3 & 4 for another 20 years, we’ll be signing up for 20 more years of contamination of our Bay and aquifer.”

Laura Reynolds, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy: “The solution to pollution is not dilution. There needs to be a real cleanup plan-a comprehensive fix that stops continued the use of the cooling canals and instead update this failing technology with cooling towers that would use the reclaimed water. This would be a true win-win that not only protects our aquifer and national parks but will also allow the County to stop ocean outfalls and improve water quality on multiple fronts making our communities and environment more resilient.”

Sharon Van Smith, Rise Up Florida Environmental Committee Chair: “Everyday around 600,000 pounds of salt, along with nutrients like phosphorus and ammonia, enter the freshwater aquifer from the unlined Turkey Point cooling canals. Remember there is a toxic, tritium-laced underground salt-water plume estimated to contain 140 billion gallons of water in the porous limestone zone below the cooling canals that extends three miles inland and currently threatens the drinking water for Monroe County and the health of Biscayne Bay. We don’t want to see it grow larger, so cooling canals need to be decommissioned and cooling towers need to be constructed.”

Steve Sauls, Biscayne Bay Marine Health Summit Steering Committee: “Biscayne Bay is the jewel in the crown of our Magic City. It’s past time we stop treating it as a community garbage dump and restore the health and sustainability of the Bay as our most visible and precious natural resource. We need an action oriented, empowered Biscayne Bay Restoration Task Force to address the issues which are obvious as well as those which are not to preserve and protect our Bay for future generations. No one wants to pay millions of dollars just for the view of a smelly garbage dump full of marine debris, dying sea grasses, and contaminated water and marine life.”

Susan Windmiller, President, League of Women Voters of Miami-Dade County: “It is the responsibility of citizens to hold their elected officials accountable for their actions and decisions. One way citizens can do that is to attend public meetings and provide public comment on the record, before decisions are made. Commissioner Bovo, Chairperson of the Miami-Dade County Commission has blocked this most democratic process. Residents of Miami-Dade need to know that the future of their water supply is at risk. Approving this Agreement with FPL is a terrible mistake for all of us now and future generations.”

Valerie Robbin, Outreach Chair, Sierra Club Miami Group: “This agreement MUST be a win-win, but we only see a big win for FPL. This JPA fails to provide assurances that reclaimed water going into the leaky cooling canals will meet Biscayne Bay’s anti-degradation water quality standards. Miami-Dade residents, in fact, all FPL customers that live, work and play in South FL, expect clean water from their tap and in the Biscayne Bay waters where they fish, swim and snorkel. FPL cannot be allowed to exploit the County’s urgency to stop ocean outfalls at the expense of water quality, and our desire to move steadily towards a clean, renewable energy future. The proposed JPA even fails to provide assurance and a timeline for what this Commission already knows needs to be done: to replace the failing canals with cooling towers that use reclaimed water. We also need a commitment of clean water to benefit the restoration of Biscayne Bay coastal wetlands. The future of Biscayne Bay and our drinking water is more important than FPL’s bottom line. The Commission must improve this JPA so it is a real win-win rather than decades of more regret.”

Dr. Philip Stoddard, Mayor, City of South Miami: “Nowhere else in the world are nuclear plants cooled with a network of canals. The system took valuable land away from the SE Coastal Everglades and has failed in multiple ways (too hot, too salty, too polluted, and too leaky) damaging the surrounding environment. Sea level rise will compromise this cooling system in due time as well. Why add yet another expensive band-aid to keep FPL’s failed experiment limping along and causing further harm to the ecosystem? Take the long view: build a cooling tower, clean and recycle the waste water, and restore the SE Coastal Everglades.”

State Senator Jose Javier Rodriguez (D-37): “Given how serious water issues at Turkey Point have been and will continue to be, this community needs all options to stay on the table for a long term fix especially those that hold FPL’s feet to the fire on their commitments.”

 

Additional Information

Local conservation groups have sent letters and information to the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners recommending ways to strengthen the Joint Partnership Agreement (JPA). Three requests have been consistently mentioned:

  1. A commitment by Miami-Dade County to continue to seek decommissioning of Turkey Point’s cooling canal system and implementing upgrades to the cooling technology, such as the installation of cooling towers, and to maintain regulatory and operational control over the wastewater treatment facility and reuse water.
  1. Any reclaimed wastewater treated for use at the Turkey Point facility must meet antidegradation water quality standards for release into Biscayne Bay.
  1. A commitment to explore options to allocate a meaningful portion of treated wastewater for Biscayne Bay restoration and wetland rehydration.

 

Find the correspondence here:

-March 1, 2018 Group Letter outlining concerns with the Agreement

-March 1, 2018 Group Letter with suggested language changes to the Agreement

-April 2, 2018 Group Letter outlining and responding to misstatements made at the March 8, 2018 Chairman’s Policy Committee meeting regarding the Agreement

-April 4, 2018 Dr. William Nuttle Letter with CV

Fact sheet on the cooling tower retrofit proposed for Turkey Point

 

The meeting and presentations can also be streamed live via the Commission’s webcast here.

 

###

 

Founded in 1985, the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy promotes responsible energy choices that work to address the impacts of Global Climate Change and ensure clean, safe, and healthy communities throughout the Southeast. Learn more at www.cleanenergy.org

 

Founded in 1967, Tropical Audubon Society endeavors to conserve and restore natural South Florida ecosystems, focusing on birds, other wildlife and their habitats through advocacy and education for the benefit of biological diversity and humanity itself. Learn more at www.tropicalaudubon.org.

 

Founded in 1969, Friends of the Everglades compels government agencies to comply with existing environmental laws, encourages politicians to recognize the long consequences of their actions and spreads awareness of the importance of the Everglades to the South Florida ecosystem. Learn more at www.everglades.org.

 

Founded in 1892 by legendary conservationist John Muir, Sierra Club has helped establish and expand national parks, and pushed to define landmark legislation like the Clean Water and Endangered Species Acts. Inspired by nature, generation after generation of Sierra Club members continue to explore, enjoy and protect the planet. Learn more at www.sierraclub.org/florida/miami

Founded in 1985, the League of Women Voters of Miami-Dade County is a nonpartisan political organization, that encourages the informed and active participation of citizens in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy. For more information, please visit www.lwvmiamidade.org.

Founded in 2016, Rise Up Florida! is a grassroots group of concerned South Florida citizens whose goals are to empower, mobilize and protect our community. We intend to scrutinize and strongly challenge any policy or legislative proposals that shift the balance away from our core values of equal rights and opportunity for all. We also seek to safeguard the health of the environment that both our lives and the unique Florida ecosystem depend upon. Learn more at riseupflorida.net.