Environmental analysis must address health, water and climate concerns for Biscayne and Everglades national parks, nearby communities and endangered and threatened wildlife.
MIAMI – The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) released a draft supplemental Environmental Impact Statement today analyzing environmental impacts of a proposal to extend the operating life of two nuclear reactors (Units 3 & 4) at Turkey Point Power Plant. Turkey Point is owned and operated by Florida Power & Light (FPL) and located directly on the shores of Biscayne National Park – the country’s largest marine national park and home to incredible biodiversity and important marine and wetland habitat. Turkey Point’s antiquated cooling canal system has been releasing contaminants into the underlying aquifer for decades and pollutants from the cooling canals have been detected in surface waters connected to Biscayne National Park.
Turkey Point’s geographic location makes it particularly susceptible to sea level rise and storm surge impacts. Situated on a low-lying peninsula, the plant is bordered by Biscayne Bay to the east and Everglades National Park to the west. Under even the most optimistic projections by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Turkey Point and parts of the cooling canals will be inundated by 2040, 12 years before the end of the reactors’ operating life, if this proposal is approved.
Biscayne and Everglades National Parks provide critical habitat for Endangered Species Act-protected species including the wood stork, American crocodile and West Indian manatee, while also serving as popular recreation areas for park visitors. In 2017, the two national parks generated nearly $183 million in economic output from almost 1.5 million visitors.
Statement by Caroline McLaughlin, Associate Director, Sun Coast at National Parks Conservation Association
“The proposal to extend the operations of Turkey Point’s existing nuclear reactors could threaten Biscayne and Everglades National Parks as well as the threatened West Indian manatee, American crocodile and other endangered wildlife that call these parks home. It also jeopardizes hundreds of millions of dollars invested in Everglades restoration and the strong tourism economy our parks and surrounding lands support. The National Parks Conservation Association and our many partners raised environmental and health concerns and we will closely examine the new environmental report to determine if it adequately addresses those issues.
“Extending the life of these already aging nuclear reactors and antiquated cooling canals in an area that is ground zero for sea level rise could threaten our country’s largest marine national park and the communities it supports. The supplemental EIS must include an in-depth analysis of how the continued operations of the cooling canals will impact water quality in the Biscayne Aquifer, Biscayne Bay and the health of our parks, and it must account for Turkey Point’s vulnerability to sea level rise and storm surge.
“NPCA has fought for our national parks for a century and has defended parks like Biscayne and Everglades since their creation. We will continue to fight for their protection, now and well into the future.”
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About National Parks Conservation Association: For 100 years, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its more than 1.3 million members and supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s most iconic and inspirational places for future generations. For more information, visit www.npca.org/100.
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