News By Industry
News from Tallahassee for 3/9/14
Lower Aquifer Under Exploration posted on 10/21/13
by Sara Drumm | Ledger
WINTER HAVEN | It may sound like a problem for the distant future, but officials are hurrying to find a new source of water before 2035.
By that time, it is projected that Central Florida will be pumping about the maximum amount permitted from the Upper Floridan Aquifer.
Even before that — around 2021 — some municipalities, especially along the U.S. 27 corridor, are projected to need more water than they are allowed to draw from the upper aquifer.
Officials with Polk County and the South and Southwest Florida water management districts say they hope to use a supplemental water source about which not much is known: the Lower Floridan Aquifer.
The Southwest Florida Water Management District, also known as Swiftmud, which covers most of Polk County, is moving forward with a project to test the quality and quantity of water in the lower aquifer, which is separated from the upper aquifer by a thick layer of clay or rocks.
To do that, the district plans to drill three exploratory wells into the Lower Floridan Aquifer. Currently, it is looking into sites in Winter Haven, Haines City and Frostproof.
Weekly Roundup: Common Core Clash; Duke Pact; New House Dem posted on 10/21/13
by BRANDON LARRABEE | News Service of Florida
There might not have been a shutdown in Tallahassee this week like the one that finally careened to an end in Washington, but it was still a relatively slow period around state government.
There were a few bursts of movement. The State Board of Education endorsed Gov. Rick Scott's efforts to begin backing away from some items tied to the controversial Common Core State Standards, while Education Commissioner Pam Stewart held public hearings on the standards themselves.
Meanwhile, the Public Service Commission came to "the best resolution at this time" with Duke Energy Florida -- a plan that drew a rebuke from the newest soon-to-be member of the Legislature.
Fla. regulators approve nuclear plant settlement posted on 10/18/13
by GARY FINEOUT | AP
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida utility regulators on Thursday quickly approved a multi-billion-dollar settlement with the state's second largest utility that will require customers to keep paying for shuttered and abandoned nuclear power plants.
While some critics had called the deal with Duke Energy Florida a "rip-off," the Florida Public Service Commission voted 4-1 in favor of the settlement after roughly 20 minutes of debate.
Commissioners who voted in favor of the settlement called it a way to bring an end to a lengthy and complex process while also placing limits on how much customers will pay for two nuclear plants. Duke has nearly 2 million customers in Florida...
Under the settlement approved by regulators, the average residential customer would pay $5.62 a month starting in January or an increase of 89 cents over current bills. But the cost could go up even more between 2015 and 2019 depending on additional expenses associated with the closing of Crystal River. Duke expects to collect all it needs for the Levy plant by 2018, but charges associated with Crystal River could continue to go on.
Duke investors and money from insurance settlement is being used for part of the cost for the two plants, but most of the cost will come from ratepayers. Duke will try to salvage and sell off parts that could also wind up reducing the final price-tag. Attorneys representing various customer groups contended the deal was the best that could be expected given state law.
Consumer Advocates Threaten Class-Action Suit If PSC Approves Duke Energy Settlement posted on 10/17/13
by JESSICA PALOMBO | WFSU
A settlement agreement that puts most of the cost of failed nuclear power plants on Florida customers has the support of utility company Duke Energy Florida, business groups and a Legislature-appointed customer representative. On Wednesday, the settlement parties asked the state utility regulating board to approve the agreement. But several consumer advocates urged the commission to delay a decision and gather more input from affected rate payers.
Wednesday’s hearing is the latest in the years-long fallout over a shuttered Citrus County nuclear power plant and a planned—but never built—plant in Levy County, both of which customers continue to pay for. Duke Energy Florida reached the new agreement with the Florida Retail Federation and others, including state-appointed consumer advocate J.R. Kelly.
Deputy public counsel Charles Rehwinkel testified: “Mr. Kelly signed this agreement on behalf of the customers not because he is convinced that the outcome fully vindicates deeply held views contained in litigation positions contained in this docket and not because he believes the outcome is ideal.”
Nearly 300 violations at Fla. nuclear plants posted on 10/16/13
MIAMI (AP) -- Three Florida nuclear power plants experienced nearly 300 safety violations between 2000 and 2012, but only a few were higher-level violations.
The violations are included in a congressional study expected to be released this month that was obtained by The Associated Press.
The Government Accountability Office report shows that safety violations at nuclear power plants across the country vary dramatically from region to region. It suggests inconsistent enforcement of regulations could be responsible.
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