On Tuesday, the Senate Rules Committee passed a controversial measure (and in the process overlooked opposition from residential and commercial customers) that Florida Power & Light hope will eventually allow them to have customers pay for natural gas fracking projects in other states. SB 1238, by Sen. Aaron Bean, R-Fernandina Beach, now goes to the Senate floor.
The goal of this legislation is to overturn a ruling from the Florida Supreme Court last year which found that the “Public Service Commission exceeded its authority when it gave FPL permission to charge customers up to $500 million for investing in an Oklahoma-based fracking company in 2015.”
This bill will, unbelievably, make the ratepayers pay for exploration and allow the utilities to charge a rate of return on that exploration cost.
As you can imagine, consumer groups oppose the measure because they fear the policy will cost FPL customers millions and push the state’s largest utility into further reliance on fossil fuels, something we should be moving away from, not toward. They also feel that if this investment was so important to FPL, shareholders should finance the projects- not customers.
Jon Moyle, a lobbyist for the Florida Industrial Power Users Group:
“We believe, fundamentally and respectfully, that this bill is traveling under a false premise and that premise is we need hedging. We don’t need hedging…This is really about making money on gas.
I can understand why FPL is excited about this bill. The consumers are not excited.”
The only glimmer of hope is that the Rules Committee adopted a series of amendments, proposed by Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater (who opposes the measure). Part of the amendments require FPL to invest only where they KNOW there are gas reserves, requires the companies FPL hires to do the drilling to prove they are financially viable and allows the drilling investment to take place only if there is a transportation pipeline already in place.
- Fracking Made Oklahoma as Earthquake-Prone as San Francisco
- Florida raises allowable limits of cancer-causing chemicals in drinking water ahead of fracking boom
- Watch: River Explodes Into Flames From Methane Coming From Nearby Fracking Sites
We will update you as more information becomes available. In the meantime, call your representatives and let them know how you feel about fracking.
Source: Miami Herald