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State 'failures' lead to FPL suit

Posted at 11:12 PM, Mar 22, 2016

More trouble for Florida Power & Light as environmental conservation groups announce plans to sue the power giant.

The suit comes after the discovery of radioactive isotopes in Miami-Dade's Biscayne Bay linked to the utilities nuclear power plant.

Conservation groups tired of Florida's Department of Environmental Protection failing to do its job say they will file suit unless federal agencies step in.

The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy and the Tropical Audubon society are leading the charge.

The complaint focuses on 10-square miles of unlined canals used to cool water that cycles through FPL's Turkey Point nuclear power plant.

Salty water from the canals is seeping into Biscayne Bay, where high concentrations of ammonia and phosphorus can damage sea life and plants.

An administrative judge recently threw out an agreement the utility company reached with the DEP, saying it failed to enforce the law.

The deal was negotiated in part by FPL Vice President Michael Sole, the former head of Florida's DEP.

"This governor has gutted the state department of environmental protection and if we look at their actions over the last few years they have not done their job of protecting the public and protecting the water supply. Enough is enough. How long are we going to continue waiting for DEP to act and protect the public instead of continuing again to shield Florida Power & Light?" said  Florida House Rep Jose Rodriguez during a Tuesday press conference in Miami.

FPL says there's no evidence its water has damaged Biscayne Bay beyond a small pocket of deep water adjacent to the plant. The conservation group says if the feds don't step in, they will file suit against FPL within 60 days.

The suit seeks civil penalties and an injunction against further environmental violations.