Hearing set for pipeline
BY WAYNE T. PRICE
Individuals and groups with opinions about Florida Power & Light’s proposed 280-mile natural gas pipeline, which includes a portion of Brevard County, will have a chance today and Tuesday to make their feelings on the project known.
Florida’s Public Service Commission is holding a "determination of need" hearing beginning at 9:30 a.m. in Tallahassee to hear testimony on FPL’s $1.5 billion pipeline plan, with a final vote expected in September.
The proposed Florida EnergySecure Line would run from Palm Beach County to Bradford County. It includes a 13-mile leg across North Brevard to provide fuel for FPL’s New Generation Clean Energy Center in Port St. John, scheduled to be in operation by 2013.
The pipeline, if approved, is scheduled to be completed by 2014.
The Brevard leg of the pipeline would run east from the main pipeline to just north of State Road 520, then jog north to SR 528. Just north of SR 528, the pipeline would head east again, then turn north to the Port St. John plant.
Kirsten Olsen, a spokeswoman for the Public Service Commission, said she was unaware of any significant controversies associated with the pipeline project. The majority of those expected to testify on Monday and Tuesday probably will focus on the technical aspects of the project.
Following the hearing, commissioners have the option of approving the project outright using what’s known as a "bench decision."
But they’ll probably wait for the staff’s recommendation and vote on Sept. 15.
"I don’t expect commissioners will make a bench decision on this," Olsen said.
About two-thirds of the natural gas from the pipeline would be used by the Port St. John power plant and the Riviera Beach power plant in Palm Beach. Both plants will be converted from heavy fuel oil-burning facilities to natural gas plants to reduce air pollution.
FPL said Brevard would benefit from $24 million in new property tax revenues.
About 90 percent of the pipeline would use existing rights of way of utilities, roads or railroads.
Contact Price at 242-3658 or email@example.com.
If you go
Hearing on proposed natural gas pipeline project
Time: 9:30 a.m. Monday. Continues through Tuesday
Location: Betty Easley Conference Center, 4075 Esplanade Way, Tallahassee.
Watching online: Go to www.floridapsc.com/agendas/schedule/hearings