Of major concern to yours truly recently has been the news that Duke's proposed gas plant is not the only one in the works for our increasingly unnatural nature coast! It seems a second gas plant is also in the planning stages. It is to be located on land owned by Steve Lamb near the Duke Energy plant. This second plant will deal in LNG (Liquid Natural Gas) and get it's gas from the Sabal Trail. If all goes as planned could we someday be seeing LNG transport trucks crowding our highways and LNG tankers leaving the new Port Citrus? Check out the STROM web site at http://www.stromsolutions.com/ and you may find yourself with more questions than answers.
In November Florida voters overwhelmingly approved Amendment One, the Land and Water amendment, and now the fun begins as everyone goes after a slice of the pie. The challenge of course is to make sure that the funds are spent for measures that will indeed help improve Florida's natural resources, and that special interests are kept at bay. Florida doesn't need a repeat of what happened with the Lottery's Education Trust fund, where funds were shifted about in what can only be called a shell game.
In Tallahassee business has already begun with the recent announcement of committee appointments. Legislative committees begin meeting in Jan. and the legislative session opens in March. Our own Charlie Dean remains Chair of the Senate's Environmental Affairs Committee, so will presumably have influence over how Amendment One money is spent. However Herschel Vineyard, head of Florida's FDEP, has resigned without making a decision on MFL's for our local rivers.
A recent Times column by John Romano pointed out that the PSC ( Public Service Commission) recently agreed to cater to the utility companies and gut the state's energy conservation goals as well as do away with incentives to utilize solar energy. Furthermore some big name utilities want to charge customers so they can explore for natural gas and more fracking opportunities in Florida. Seems their greed knows no bounds.
With the explosive interest in fracking will Florida be able to stay out of the game? New York has just banned fracking in their state, and let's hope Florida follows suit! An anti fracking bill has already been filed by Senator Soto (SB166). You can help the cause by signing an anti fracking petition that can be found at : http://act.progressflorida.org/sign/sb166/?source=facebook
On another note some experts are saying that the fracking frenzy is a bubble about to burst. Now that could be a game changer!
Finally, on the national front the Keystone Pipeline failed to win the US Senate by 1 vote. It will be back next year to be voted on by our new Congress. According to most reports President Obama is likely to veto it should it pass.