Opponents of Florida Power & Light Co.’s plan to put wind turbines on South Hutchinson Island still hope to have a large crowd at tonight’s St. Lucie County Commission meeting even though a majority of commissioners have said they oppose building the turbines on public land.
“We’re trying to get our people out, but many have the impression we’ve already prevailed,” said Julie Zahniser of the Save St. Lucie Alliance.
Those who do show up will be clad in red or orange shirts again, but she said they don’t plan a demonstration in front of the county administration building as they did at an earlier meeting.
FPL, which recently has adopted a “we don’t comment on this project” stance, did not respond to an inquiry on whether utility company officials will attend the commission meeting.
Three commissioners have said they oppose wind turbines in Blind Creek Park because it was purchased for conservation and recreation partly with proceeds of an environmental lands bond issue voters approved.
County Attorney Dan McIntyre said wind turbines would violate requirements of the bond issue.
Tonight’s vote deals only with FPL’s request for three wind turbines on the public conservation lands. FPL also wants to build six wind turbines on its own property at the St. Lucie Nuclear Power Plant.
A proposed letter for commissioners to send to the state Department of Environmental Protection expresses the county’s opposition and asks that the project not be considered at an April 10 meeting of the state’s Acquisition and Restoration Council.
The council is composed of representatives of the DEP and other state agencies who recommend actions to the governor and Cabinet.
Florida’s administrative code says the county, as manager and lease holder of the property, has to consent before the item is placed on the council’s agenda.
Commissioners have not said whether they would oppose wind turbines anywhere on Hutchinson Island besides Blind Creek Park. They would have to grant a variance to height rules if FPL is to build the 400-foot tall structures, which are twice as high as its nuclear reactors, on the island.
By Jim Reeder
18 March 2008
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