News from Tallahassee for 7/25/14

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Attorney General Candidate Speaks Out Against Energy Conservation Program Cuts posted on 7/23/14

by MATTHEW STOLPE | WFSU

A Democratic Florida attorney general candidate is speaking out against energy conservation program cuts. Power companies are asking regulators to allow the programs to be scaled back in favor of more cost-effective ventures.

Attorney general candidate George Sheldon is calling on the Public Service Commission to deny utility companies’ requests for lower energy-efficiency standards. The PSC regulates privately owned utilities. The commission is meeting this week with power companies, including Florida Power & Light and Duke Energy to re-evaluate conservation goals.

The power companies argue efforts like solar energy programs are expensive to run and suffer from low demand. Sheldon, however, says the utilities are motivated by money.

“To be honest with you, power companies don’t make their money from conservation. They make their money by underutilization of power plants, by building new power plants, and getting the customer to pay for it. It’s not where we ought to be going as a state,” Sheldon says.

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FP&L, Duke, TECO seek to cut conservation goals posted on 7/22/14

by Lloyd Dunkelberger | Herlad-Tribune

TALLAHASSEE - The Florida Public Service Commission on Monday began three days of hearings that could allow the state's major electric utility companies to dramatically slash their energy conservation goals over the next five years.

The hearings immediately drew criticism as the public was barred from testifying at the proceedings. The PSC considered the hearings to be a legal forum to gather evidence and testimony on the conservation standards.

State Rep. Dwight Dudley, D-St. Petersburg, unsuccessfully pleaded with the commission to allow the public to comment on the standards, saying “the name Public Service Commission includes the public.”

“The public should be heard on this, not hurt,” Dudley said. “Right now, they're about ready to get hurt.”

Dudley and environmental groups argued that allowing Florida Power & Light Co., Duke Energy Florida, Tampa Electric Co., Gulf Power and three other utilities to lower their energy conservation goals - including eliminating solar power programs for homeowners - will increase the demand for costly new power plants and result in higher electric bills for ratepayers.

But the utilities countered that energy efficiency is occurring through other means, including stricter building codes and higher efficiency standards for appliances. They say the energy conservation programs, which include things like home energy audits or solar power, cost ratepayers money.

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Scientists Want To Speak Directly To Scott, Not Administration, About Climate Change posted on 7/22/14

by Sascha Cordner | WFSU

Governor Rick Scott says his administration is willing to meet with 10 scientists who want to speak with him about climate change. But, the scientists say they don’t want to speak to Scott’s staff about the impacts of man-made global warming has on Florida, they want to speak to Scott directly.

According a short documentary film from the National Geographic gives a short overview about climate change:

It’s been a topic of discussion lately in Florida. Back when he was first running for office, Governor Scott said he wasn’t convinced there’s any “man-made climate change.” Now, years later, and running for a second term, Scott’s latest answer can be heard here, speaking to a Miami Herald reporter in May:

“…Now, you’re not saying, ‘look, I doubt the science.’ Now, you’re saying ‘I’m not a scientist.’ Am I right in guessing that,” asked the reporter.

“Well, I’m not a scientist. But, I can tell you what we’ve accomplished. We’ve put a lot of effort into making sure we take care of our natural treasures, the Everglades, making sure water flows South, any flooding around our coast…So, we’re doing the right thing,” Scott replied.

Scott says he also wants to make Florida’s environment a place everyone can enjoy, and now, ten scientists say they want to help explain what’s at stake for Florida to Scott.

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Seminole Indian War Fort Unearthed in the Everglades posted on 7/18/14

by Nancy Smith | Sunshine State News

Sometimes we forget how remarkable the Florida Everglades really is. A team of amateur explorers has given up another one of its treasures, and this time the treasure isn't natural, isn't part of the wetlands' extraordinary biodiversity.

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Florida scientists press Gov. Rick Scott on climate change posted on 7/17/14

by Mary Ellen Klas | Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau

In an effort to push Gov. Rick Scott into the debate on climate change, 10 prominent Florida scientists on Tuesday asked for an opportunity to explain to him the impact human-induced global warming will have on Florida.

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