Florida Power & Light is seeking permission from the state Public Service Commission to raise electricity rates by 30% starting on Jan. 1, reports Greenwire. FPL says that the existing system is maxed out and demand is growing.
So why is the system maxed out? It may have something to do with green activist groups who are blocking electricity production in Florida.
The Everglades chapter of Earth First! issued a media release on February 19, 2008, that stated in part:
Early Monday morning dozens of concerned community members from Palm Beach County and all over the nation put their bodies on the line to halt construction of FPL’s West County Energy Center (WCEC), demanding energy efficiency, truly clean, renewable energy and a moratorium on development in south Florida. Everglades Earth First! blocked the main entrance to the WCEC site, a proposed massive 3800 MW gas-fired power plant that would emit 12 million tons of CO2, a leading greenhouse gas, every year. The plant is currently under construction despite ongoing legal challenges to the plant’s needed permits and certification, which have been spearheaded by the local Palm Beach County Environmental Coalition.
A dozen activists locked themselves together through metal pipes as 200 supporters rallied around them. The blockade stopped work on the construction site for six hours before a total of 27 people were arrested.
This confrontational action was taken to protect the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge which sits 1000 ft from the power plant site and to protect the larger Everglades system. Restoration would be undermined by new development that the power plant is expected to encourage in the area. The civil disobedience action also aims to protect the entire planet from the destructive effects of climate change caused by power plant emissions.
“We just don’t need this plant,” said Lynne Purvis, an activist with Everglades Earth First! who was born and raised in the Loxahatchee area. “I’m not willing to threaten the integrity of the Loxahatchee, one of the last large, intact pieces of northern Everglades, so that people can fuel their greedy energy desires.”
Purvis says that the Everglades Earth First! group intends to continue a sustained campaign of direct action against this power plant and its adjacent gas pipeline.
The green/energy issue will take on heightened importance now that Florida Gov. Charlie Crist is launching a campaign to replace retiring Sen. Mel Martinez (R-FL). Crist has supported climate change legislation in the past. But the greens are now concerned that Crist may move to the right in order to gain the Senate seat. Our guess is that if Crist is shifting positions, it is just an expediency to win Martinez’s seat.
Florida voters should demand that Crist explain himself on green issues. Otherwise they face even greater energy price hikes in the future.