Environment Magazine

FPL Brings Pipeline Wars to Florida’s Everglades

Posted on the 12 December 2012 by Earth First! Newswire @efjournal

FPL pipeline_mapDespite growing resistance against oil and gas pipelines across North America, energy companies continue to push their plans for expansion.

Perhaps you’ve heard of the Spectra, Constitution and Millennium pipelines in New York; the PTP and Enbridge pipelines across Canada; and, of course, the Keystone XL under construction in East Texas…  These pipelines are all specifically aimed at accommodating the extreme extraction practices of shale fracking and tar sands.

Now you can add FPL’s proposed pipeline to the list. Though the plan was already rejected once by Florida’s Public Service Commission, its back again. According to the Palm Beach Post:

Florida Power & Light (FPL) has proposed a multibillion-dollar gas pipeline that would run from Alabama to Martin County, and is seeking bids from companies interested in building what would become the state’s third major pipeline.

Juno Beach-based FPL, which continues to invest billions in power plants that run on natural gas, plans to issue a formal request for proposals to prospective bidders on Dec. 19, spokesman Mark Bubriski said Monday. The new pipeline is projected to begin operating in 2017.

“This pipeline would be designed to access more domestic on-shore shale gas reserves [fracking] from all over the country,” Bubriski said.

A history of recent resistance to FPL

FPL brings pipeline wars to Florida’s Everglades

FPL garnered nationwide attention from environmental activists when an Earth First! action shut down a construction site of theirs in 2008. The Everglades EF! group joined the Palm Beach County Environmental Coalition in a several year campaign obstructing the plant and its needed infrastructure. Over 50 activists were arrested in occupations and blockades and half-dozen lawsuits were filed, dragging the energy company through multiple court cases—including a civil suit ongoing to this day in Martin County, home to the famous old-growth bald cypress trees of Barley Barber swamp. 

WCEC power plant

Above: A disgruntled visitor to the Loxahatchee Refuge enjoys scenic view at FPL’s power plant. Below: Night time view of same plant

At the onset of their fight, activists found themselves among industrial apologists such as the Florida Audubon Society who sided with FPL’s gas plants and pipelines, including the West County Energy Center. This plant is now the largest power station in the US, built 1000 feet from the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge (a headwaters of the Everglades National Park).

FPL brings pipeline wars to Florida’s Everglades
And it looks like those same lackeys are still at it: “We are fans of natural gas to the extent it can be coupled with solar power. There is a nice offset,” said Audubon Florida Executive Director Eric Draper.

It would seem that Draper is referring directly to FPL’s proposed plan to build another giant “clean enrgy” plant in the heart of Florida Panther habitat, bordering the Seminole Tribe’s Big Cypress Reservation.


Eric Draper of FL Audubon

Draper’s statement above can also be interpreted quite clearly as support for proposed fracking on the horizen in Florida. (With Draper’s dismal record as a greenwashing industrial lobbyist, it’s no surprise that he made “Santa’s Naughty Earth Killers List” released just earlier today on the Earth First! Newsire.)

In other South Florida news today

The Palm Beach Post offered a few tips on how not to kidnap a rich person for ransom, citing a plot foiled by an FBI informant in Palm Beach Gardens (which is coincidentally also the proposed home of Scripps Biotech vivisection labs).


Story compiled by Panagioti, EF! Journal collective

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