At FPL's St. Lucie Nuclear Power Plant, Components Show Wear That's 1,500 Times Worse than the Norm

Categories: Environment

Anders Ljungberg via Flickr CC
Yesterday, 80 environmental activists from Earth First! protested at the Juno Beach headquarters of Florida Power & Light. Their mission was to bring attention to a proposed power plant in Hendry County.

But there's another concern about FPL: possible problems at the nuclear plant in St. Lucie. Tubes inside generators at the power plant show wear and tear that's 1,500 times greater than the norm.

FPL and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission insist nothing is wrong, but Daniel Hirsch, a nuclear policy lecturer at the University of California at Santa Cruz, told the Tampa Bay Times that generators at the St. Lucie facility are "falling apart" and "the damn thing is grinding down... They must be terrified internally."

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FPL to Put Power Lines in Everglades National Park?

Categories: Environment

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It's a very real possibility that Florida Power & Light could put power lines through Everglades National Park. These would bring power from the Turkey Point nuclear power plant to points northward. The only time to object in person is tonight, at a public meeting at Florida International University.

Here's the back story, as explained by Matt Schwartz, director of the South Florida Wildlands Association: a long time ago, Florida Power & Light bought up tracts of private land that ran north and south, expecting that one day it might need to add more power lines. Twenty-five years ago, with the Everglades National Park Protection and Expansion Act of 1989, park boundaries were expanded. Suddenly, FPL's land was now inside the park. Congress authorized the National Park Service to buy the land from FPL.

In 1996, the park service moved to buy the land for $110,000. The park service warned that if FPL didn't agree, the agency would move to seize the land through eminent domain.

For whatever reason, the park service never followed through on its threat, leaving us in a conundrum today.

See also: Oil Companies Are Planning to Drill in Florida Panther Habitat

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Florida Lawmakers Move to Let Fracking Companies Keep Secrets About Toxic Chemicals They'll Pump Into Ground


Bills that throw a cloak of secrecy over fracking operations in Florida passed out of the House Agriculture & Natural Resources Subcommittee on Tuesday. The measures exempt from public disclosure the chemicals, which are rich in toxins, used in the process.

See also:
- Florida Fracking: Sen. Jeff Clemens Says Name Your Poison

Hydraulic fracturing
, or "fracking," involves blasting millions of gallons of water and a chemical stew into the ground to fracture rock formations and release oil and gas. No fracking is currently underway in Florida, but it's on the horizon. Drilling applications have been granted for Collier and Hendry counties and applied for in Santa Rosa.

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Manatee Body Count: 2013 Shattered All the Records

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Manatees -- those lovable dopey floaters bobbing in the waters around South Florida -- had a really bad 2013. For the first time since scientists began tallying the number of the animals killed in the wild, the body count broke the 800 mark.

Yeah, read that line one more time so it can sink in: 813 manatees were killed in 2013 -- and technically, we're not even done with the year yet, so a few more might be notched into the record before we blow out the candles for 2013 next week.

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Filipino Seafarers Arrive at Port Everglades After Typhoon Haiyan

Categories: Environment

Robin Haines Merrill
It seems like a miracle -- or at least a statistical unlikelihood -- that none of the Filipino workers onboard the cargo ship Ocean lost anyone in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan. Thousands of people were killed and millions were left homeless after the storm ravaged the nation's 7,100 islands on November 6.

Filipinos make up 45 percent of the seafarers who come into Port Everglades and 20 to 30 percent of that occupation worldwide. Many are college-educated and have to complete years of certification to hit the water.

If other countries have a brain drain, though, the Philippines has a brawn drain. The nation ships its men abroad and expects them to wire hard-earned wages back to their communities every payday using MoneyGram. After working onboard for a ten-month stretch, they might get to visit home for a three-week vacation.

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Rep. Patrick Murphy Talks About Nasty Lake Okeechobee Pollution

Categories: Environment

Yesterday afternoon, Rep. Patrick Murphy gave us a shout to talk about the briefing he's holding in Washington, D.C., today for members of Congress regarding the nasty pollution that's flowing from Lake Okeechobee through two rivers and killing everything all the way to the east and west coasts of Florida. Scores of activists also traveled up by bus and plane to sit in on the proceedings.

Here's our convo, slightly edited:

New Times So, are you bored up there in D.C. with nothing going on, the government shut down?
Murphy: Once we get through this big fly-in tomorrow, it will probably be a lot quieter. Obviously, I'm new here, but it's eerie. You walk around town and no one's here... It's a weird feeling, and no one [in Congress] really knows where we're going [in terms of resolving the shutdown crisis.]

Did the shutdown hurt your agenda? Can you still get into the meeting rooms?
We were able to lock down the room, and there were some minor tweaks to the schedule -- some people from some of the federal agencies [Army Corps, the USDA] will not participate, so it's a little bit of a loss. We can still get out our message and get comments.

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Photos Show How Nasty Lake Okeechobee Pollution Is; Congressional Meeting Tomorrow

Categories: Environment

Rep. Patrick Murphy
Tomorrow, Rep. Patrick Murphy a 30-year-old Democrat from Jupiter; and Congressman Trey Radel, a Republican from Fort Myers, are scheduled to hold a public briefing to members of Congress regarding the massive pollution that's flowing from Lake Okeechobee through the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee rivers to pollute estuaries as far south as the Lake Worth Lagoon.

In a pretty impressive feat of coordination, the congressmen have managed to assemble an agenda that includes a lot of the key players -- people from the Army Corps of Engineers, the Department of the Interior, the state Department of Environmental Protection, and various Treasure Coast leaders and scientists. In addition, busloads of activists -- "River Warriors" or "Lagoonatics," as some of them are calling themselves -- were also traveling by bus and plan to attend.

Although the federal-government shutdown may still cause some changes in the agenda, Murphy's office said the meeting was still on. It was set to be live-streamed here beginning at 9 a.m.

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Davie Canal Trees to Be Saved From Being Removed

Categories: Environment

The South Florida Water Management District had been planning to uproot dozens of oak and gumbo limbo trees that sit along a canal between Nob Hill Road and SW 101st Avenue along the C-11 canal of Linear Park trail in Davie.

But, after Davie residents, and Mayor Judy Paul, asked the district to reconsider its plan and come up with another solution, they have now postponed the tree removal until after hurricane season.

This means that the trees slated to be removed, can now by safely relocated.

However, the remaining trees along the canal will be removed starting Monday.

See also: Davie Trying to Save Dozens of Oak and Gumbo Trees From Being Removed

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Davie Trying to Save Dozens of Oak and Gumbo Trees From Being Removed

Categories: Environment

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photo via Milo44
Another day, another tree-removal controversy in our neck of the woods.

This time around, it's the South Florida Water Management District that is planning to uproot dozens of oak and gumbo limbo trees that sit along a canal between Nob Hill Road and SW 101st Avenue along the C-11 canal of Linear Park trail in Davie.

The trees were slated to be removed Monday, but Davie Mayor Judy Paul asked the district to reconsider its plan and come up with another solution.

See also: Five Reasons Marina Lofts Should Be Nixed (And the Rain Tree Saved)

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Marina Lofts Wins Approval; Rain Tree Will Be Moved

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Sorry, Egypt. The "eyes of the world [were] on Fort Lauderdale" last night.

At least, that's what Marina Lofts developer Asi Cymbal said without the slightest hint of irony before a packed house at a Fort Lauderdale City Commission meeting Wednesday. The commission, voting on the relocation of a century-old African rain tree and on a massive Marina Lofts apartment complex designed by Danish architect Bjarke Ingels on the south side of New River, approved both measures: the tree move with a 3-1 vote and the larger project unanimously.

The meeting, which ran later than 3 a.m., was a marathon of contentious back-and-forth. It started with a presentation by Cymbal Development's team of yuppies, followed by statements from the public.

See also:
-- Five Reasons Marina Lofts Should Be Nixed

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