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Commissioner changes mind about turbines in St. Lucie County  

The county commissioner who was most supportive of bringing wind turbines to the county is now against it.

Commissioner Chris Craft, who encouraged Florida Power & Light Co. to look at the county for its wind turbine proposal, announced during Tuesday’s commission meeting that he no longer supports the project. He said his decision wasn’t based on the debate over public lands but on whether it would have a net positive effect for the environment.

“I think this has been and will continue to be the most important issue we have debated on this board,” Craft said.

Craft said he ultimately was swayed by comments made by a teenager during a recent public hearing on the turbines and went back to listen to discussions that occurred when FPL proposed a coal plant in the county. He said he decided that FPL could have a greater effect by spending the roughly $60 million for the project on other uses to promote conservation, through education efforts or other technologies, such as solar power.

FPL has proposed putting nine turbines on Hutchinson Island, six on its own property at the St. Lucie Nuclear Plant and three on state owned land at Blind Creek Park that is managed by the county.

The company is scheduled to go before the state Acquisition and Restoration Council in April to gain an easement on the property. The county would also have to sign off on the easement, as well as zoning and other permits, but no date for commission discussions has been set.

Commissioner Doug Coward has already stated publicly he is against placing the turbines on public conservation land, resulting in two negative votes against FPL’s project. The other three commissioners have not taken a position on it, though Commissioner Charles Grande and Commissioner Joe Smith said they are both close to making up their minds.

By Derek Simmonsen

TCPalm

4 March 2008

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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