Statement by Sara Fain, Everglades Law Center, representing the National Parks Conservation Association
“For more than six years, the National Parks Conservation Association has been working to protect Everglades National Park from an intrusive power line proposal by Florida Power and Light (FPL) that called for the construction of 330-foot transmission lines through Everglades National Park. Today, an agreement has been made that can keep power lines completely out of the national park and protect the park’s invaluable natural resources, endangered wildlife, and the visitor experience.
“The Governor and Cabinet of the State of Florida, sitting as the Florida Siting Board, met today to decide on the state certification of FPL’s proposals for new transmission lines and two new nuclear units at Turkey Point. FPL has agreed to new Conditions of Certification that would require it to build its western transmission lines wholly outside of the park, subject to landowner approvals. FPL’s original proposal called for a transmission corridor that would cut through 260 acres of wetlands inside existing Everglades National Park boundaries. The National Park Service has already stated that such a corridor would cause major adverse impacts to wetlands, soil quality, vegetation, visitor and recreation experience, and wildlife, including the endangered wood stork and snail kite.
“The National Parks Conservation Association supports a low-impact alternative that keeps the FPL transmission lines completely out of the Everglades National Park. We are pleased by today’s decision by Governor Rick Scott and the Florida Cabinet to support the minimal impact, common sense solution that protects the ecological significance of America’s Everglades and ensures Florida’s future power supply needs are met. Today’s approval of the less impactful plan by the state, legally mandates FPL’s transmission lines to move forward outside of the park’s boundaries, subject to landowner approvals, keeping Everglades National Park whole.
“At the federal level, the power line proposal includes a land exchange with the National Park Service that would grant FPL ownership of 260 acres of wetlands of National Park Service land in exchange for the 320 acres it currently owns in the western Everglades Expansion Area. We look forward to working with the National Park Service to ensure that the final disposition of FPL’s land inside park boundaries will support keeping power lines out of the national park so the more than 1,000,000 annual visitors that spend nearly $103 million in and around Everglades National Park can continue enjoying this treasured place as visitors do today.”
About National Parks Conservation Association
Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its more than one million members and supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s natural, historical, and cultural heritage for future generations. For more information, visit www.npca.org.
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