FPL calms concerns from landowners over planned 280-mile gas pipeline
By Eric Pfahler
ST. LUCIE COUNTY — Most of the 20 people attending Florida Power & Light’s session about its plan to build a $1.5 billion, 280-mile natural gas pipeline were concerned about how the project will affect their properties.
County staff, Florida Department of Environmental Protection and FPL officials talked to the group Wednesday evening.
The underground pipeline would run through 14 counties, including St. Lucie, Martin and Indian River. The pipeline would include the western portion of St. Lucie County, though a final route has not been determined. According to FPL, the construction is expected to create about 3,500 construction jobs, including 440 jobs in St. Lucie County. The plans include 32 miles of pipeline in St. Lucie County.
FPL officials said they will work with property owners to help ensure full use of their properties. According to the company, 97 percent of the pipeline would co-exist with current utility lines, though environmental factors could prevent the new line following old lines in certain locations. Following previously made lines should limit the effect on property owners, according to the company.
FPL hopes the pipeline can help the company meet the state’s future demand for energy while creating a transportation method that would not be susceptible to hurricane and tropical storm damage. Florida has two existing natural gas pipelines and both start in the Gulf of Mexico region and are vulnerable to hurricanes, according to FPL. The line would be at least 3 feet deep and deeper in some places.
The company plans to have its final hearing on the project around August 2010. The application is through the Florida Public Service Commission. The plan is to complete the pipeline in 2014 with construction beginning in 2012.
For more information on the project, visit www.stlucieco.gov or www.FPL.com/EnergySecure.