MIAMI — Florida Gov. Rick Scott
recently asked the Florida Supreme Court to consider a review of the
ongoing case involving Florida Power & Light’s desire to
utilize nuclear power.
The case is State of Florida Siting
Board et al. v. Miami-Dade County et al.
According to a report
by Law 360, Scott and members of his cabinet made this request on
Jan. 23 not under the guise of their elected positions, but as
members of the Florida Siting Board. The board was created out of the
Power Plant Siting Act. The responsibility of the board is to issue
certifications, as appropriate, based on the provisions in the
Their request is one that has a bit of history attached to
In 1991, the state Supreme Court heard
Florida Power Corp v. Seminole County. This ruling would have allowed
Florida Power & Light to make their recently requested upgrades.
The utility has expressed interest in constructing a little fewer
than 100 miles of power-transmission systems and cables across
Southern Florida. The cables would carry energy created by a new
source — nuclear power. Florida Power would like to construct two
units to generate nuclear power.
While an approval for the project
was in place, a recent ruling by the 3rd District Court of Appeals
overturned that approval. That decision prompted the governor’s
The Siting Board made their request to the Florida
Supreme Court on the basis of three points: the appeals-court
decision reduces the rights granted in the 1991 case Florida Power
Corp. v. Seminole County ruling, thereby creating a conflict between
the appeals court and the Supreme Court; the ruling competes with
what the Legislature has implied as its intent; and the
appellate-court ruling creates an “impact” on multiple classes of
constitutional and/or state officers.
For their part, the Siting
Board overlooked a component of the Seminole County case.
“We believe that the jurisdiction of
the [PSC] to regulate rates and services of public utilities
pre-empts the authority of the city and county to require [Florida
Power Corp.] to place its lines underground,” the Supreme Court
In short, they had the ability to ask
Florida Power to install the lines underground.
The case was
originally initiated by Miami, South Miami, the village of Pinecrest,
and Miami-Dade County. The entities have concerns specifically
surrounding the power lines that would be erected across their
respective areas. Additional concerns
surrounded the impact that the project overall would have to the area
of Turkey Point, which often is beset by hurricanes. Its proximity to
Everglades National Park and Biscayne National Park only heightened
those environmental worries.
The municipalities initiated the
appeal of the Siting Board's recommendation that the project be
allowed to continue with the 3rd District. After hearing the case,
and reviewing all evidence, the court reversed the approval on the
grounds that not all regulations were considered.
the court felt that the judge who had initially approved the request
had not taken into consideration local regulations. In the court's opinion,
this made the initial project application incomplete.
are reviewing potential next steps.