Friday, October 9, 2009

State regulators shoot down FPL's pipeline proposal

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - State regulators on Oct. 6 killed a proposal by Florida Power and Light to build a 300-mile natural gas pipeline. But the project may not be dead yet.
Under the plan, FPL customers would have to foot the bill for the pipeline's $1.5 billion price tag.
Florida Power and Light wants to convert its oil-fired power plants to run on natural gas. FPL spokeswoman Jackie Anderson says it will take a state-wide pipeline to make that happen.
"When those plants come back on line, they're going to be 33 percent more efficient. So, they're going to burn clean natural gas and they're also going to be saving customers money in the long run." says Anderson.
FP L wants the pipeline to go through Orange, Brevard, Volusia and Seminole counties. Construction will take five years to complete.
Critics worry about the project's safety. They wanted the Public Service Commission to vote “no.”
The Public Service Commission did that, but has problems of its own. On Oct. 6, one commissioner resigned, and the chairman is now a lame duck. Further, it's been charged that commission staffers may have tried to influence the vote on the pipeline.
"Some of the terminology that was used when concerns were explained was ‘railroading,’ says Public Service Commission head Nathan Skop.
Gov. Charlie Crist a week earlier decided not to re-appoint two commissioners, Skop being one of them.

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