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Local Surfrider Foundation protests FPL turbines with more than 1,000 signatures

The Treasure Coast chapter of the Surfrider Foundation has gathered more than 1,000 signatures against Florida Power & Light Co.’s wind turbine project on Hutchinson Island, the group announced late Wednesday.

FPL wants to place six wind turbines on property it owns near the St. Lucie Nuclear Plant, including three at Walton Rocks beach, land that is owned by FPL and was formerly leased to the county. The county has asked FPL to continue the lease, a request the company continues to consider, according to a company spokeswoman.

The Surfrider Foundation says it has collected more than 1,000 signatures since early May, about 120 of them through an online petition the group launched June 3. The organization says it created the petition following a meeting it had with FPL officials about the project.

Among concerns raised by the foundation are that the project wouldn’t comply with county height restrictions, it would breach the coastal construction control line, it would negatively impact more than eight acres of upland preserve and mangrove forest, it could severely erode the beach, it would be limited in scope because of predicted rising sea levels and it would reduce public access to Walton Rocks.

The county is reviewing zoning and conditional-use permit requests, as well as a height variance, for the project and has said it is looking at using an outside company to review some of the proposal. No public hearing dates have been set.

The Surfrider petition can be found at www.tcsurfrider.org. FPL has created its own Web site about the project at www.stluciewind.com.

By Derek Simmonsen


3 July 2008