A public comment period is now open on a draft permit to govern Turkey Point: ACTION is needed

A public comment period is now open on a draft permit to govern Turkey Point. ACTION is needed.

With the issuance of this Permit, DEP is choosing to side with the corporate polluter for its short-term profits, instead of the long-term sustainability of South Florida!

The public know may comment on the NPDES permit renewal at the Turkey Point nuclear plant, as advertised in the Miami Herald.

As we know, regulation is meaningless unless there is enforcement and under the last administration DEP and SFWMD have been asleep at the wheel leaving only Miami Dade County to lead the regulatory battle with FPL to protect our resources.  Now to cover that fact up DEP has issued a permit that conveniently revises history for FPL who has been polluting for decades and is facing several lawsuits.

On its face this permit looks good with much more detail than the current permit, but it’s another attempt by FPL through DEP to avoid responsibility to be a good corporate citizen and serve the ratepayers and protect the resources of the State.

This draft permit is ambiguous and likely written by FPL and its team of lawyers. Nothing in this draft would allow an enforcement action to ever be taken against the "state protected" company, the current permit is simple and is a ZERO discharge permit and has been violated for decades.  Instead of requiring a full clean up and a technology upgrade to prevent continued damage to the region DEP is now permitting the pollution the current permit prevents.

This permit does not fix the problem it authorizes more of the same!

  1. This permit allows continued discharge into surface waters of the US (National Park and Marine Sanctuary in Biscayne Bay)
  2. This forgives FPL for decades of contamination of the potable water supply for Miami Dade and Monroe county’s.
  3. This permit would allow FPL to avoid having to remedy current operations and the resulting pollution into Biscayne Bay and to our potable aquifer by allowing operations to continue unchanged into the foreseeable future.

 

Detailed TALKING POINTS:

The new Turkey Point draft NPDES permit would:

  1. Allow “seepage” into the surface waters of Biscayne Bay, from the currently permitted industrial waste facility from the cooling canal system (CCS) to be discharged through the limestone underlying the CCS into the surface waters of Biscayne Bay.
  2. Only prohibit “point source” discharges into the surrounding surface waters. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) redefined “point source” so that it would not include the discharge to Biscayne Bay through groundwater via limestone, which is prohibited by the current permit.

  3. Expands FPL’s right to pollute adjacent potable groundwater to the west of the CCS through an arbitrary “clarification” of the boundary between the potable aquifer and industrial waste facility. This would also allow FPL to leave decades of polluted groundwater in place without the need for remediation.

  4. Appears to expand required monitoring, but instead averages salinity values for diluting evidence of ongoing discharges from the CCS into the surrounding waters. In addition, the surface water monitoring locations are insufficient and in the wrong locations to properly identify impacts to Biscayne Bay and Card Sound.

  5. Allow FPL’s canal “freshening” now required by DEP's Consent Order, to flush large amounts of pollutants into the aquifer and the Bay. The likely future source of this water is treated wastewater, which almost certainly will contain “micro-constituents” and nutrient pollutants above anti-degradation standards for Biscayne Bay, that can cause severe health impacts to those who rely upon the freshwater aquifer and to the surrounding ecology.

  6. Allow FPL to escape culpability and responsibility for their ongoing degradation of Miami-Dade and Monroe County’s potable aquifer and the damage Turkey Point has already caused to the drinking water or G-II aquifer.

  7. Redefine what is necessary for degradation of a water-body to be “degraded” and sets a bad precedent for the state generally. Water quality standards exist to help identify a pollution problem and abate the source before any degradation occurs.  There is already noticeable degradation of the ecosystem in the nearshore area of Biscayne Bay from the result of decades of operations of Turkey Point’s CCS.

 

What can be done?

Within his first days in office, Governor DeSantis has made Florida’s environment a priority. Ask Governor DeSantis to stand up to ALL important water quality issues in Florida, including the decades long adverse impacts on water quality in Biscayne Bay and the federally protected aquifer to the west that has resulted from FPL’s operation of the CCS.  This situation has been exacerbated by FPL’s actions to produce more electricity at the plant since 2012 by uprating the energy output and generating greater profits for FPL. Research shows that with the increased power generation at Turkey Point, greater water inputs into the CCS are required, and this addition of water into the CCS has served to increase the amount of pollution discharged to surface waters, and Biscayne Bay.  It is also in direct conflict with the success of at least two everglades projects in the region (Biscayne Bay Coastal Wetlands and the C-111 Spreader Project).

TAKE ACTION TODAY:

  1. Call or meet with Governor DeSantis and ask him to halt or slow down this process so his Administration can take the requisite “hard look.”
  2. Contact your County Commissioners and encourage them to challenge this permit. Monroe County here and Miami-Dade here.
  3. Educate your state senator and representative about this issue. Ask them to contact DEP and demand that this draft permit be placed on hold until further review can be completed. Find your legislators here.
  4. Contact your members of Congress.
  5. Demand more time to review the permit and a public hearing to answer your concerns.

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