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Response to HAB911 (Original post)

Wed Mar 15, 2017, 07:19 AM

1. FPL-friendly bills pass Senate committee unanimously after no debate

TALLAHASSEE A Senate committee unanimously approved two bills sought by Florida Power & Light on Tuesday that overturn court decisions and allow the company to put transmission lines along environmentally sensitive areas in Miami-Dade County and resume charging customers for natural gas fracking activities in other states.

The Senate Communications, Energy and Public Utilities Committee took the votes with little discussion and no debate as five Republicans and three Democrats overlooked warnings from consumer and environmental groups that the policies would cost FPL customers millions and lock the Florida utility into an increased reliance on fossil fuels for decades to come.

Under SB 1238, FPL would be able to resume charging customers and operating natural gas fracking activities in other states if the Florida Public Service Commission approves. FPL sought and received approval from the Public Service Commission to charge customers up to $500 million for investment in an Oklahoma-based fracking company in 2015 but, in May of last year, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that the PSC exceeded its authority when it allowed the company to charge customers for gas drilling "without the Florida Legislature's authority."

The Senate bill was filed last week by Sen. Aaron Bean, R-Fernandina Beach, and quickly put on the agenda by Sen. Frank Artiles, R-Miami, the chairman of the committee whose close relationship with FPL's lobbyists has recently raised questions. The bill next goes to the Rules Committee.


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