Resolutions going to Monroe County Commission votes today call for closing Florida Power and Light’s Turkey Point nuclear plant cooling canals and keeping the Big Pine Road Prison open.
Commissioners will consider the resolutions in their regular session at the Harvey Government Center on Truman Avenue in Key West.
Mayor George Neugent’s item on the Turkey Point nuclear power plant in south Miami-Dade County asks FPL to commit to “discontinue” using 5,900 acres of land and canals to cool water from the plant “as soon as possible.”
In addition to worries about “a hypersaline plume of water from the cooling canals” that has migrated into nearby groundwater, “more recent water quality sampling” has detected violations of water standards in Biscayne Bay north of the Florida Keys.
“The proposed resolution expresses the concerns about ... potential impacts on Card Sound, Biscayne Bay and the Florida Keys’ drinking water supply,” a summary says. A cooling tower could be used to replace the sprawl of cooling canals, the resolution suggests.
Commissioners also might also petition the Florida Department of Corrections to cancel plans to close the Big Pine Road Prison, in operation for six decades. The 64 inmates at the Lower Keys facility provide needed support for maintaining the appearance of U.S. 1, “an iconic feature of the Florida Keys.”
Prisoners, who are transferred to Big Pine only after establishing good records in more secure facilities, also help clean state parks and work at numerous community festivals that raise money for worthy causes. The Road Prison also has a full-time staff of 25 that may have to leave the Keys.
“Road prisons also serve an important prisoner-rehabilitation purpose,” the resolution says.
Chambers of commerce representing Islamorada and the Lower Keys endorse keeping the prison open.
In other issues today, commissioners will:
▪ Consider a proposal to better define a “lock-out unit” to tighten rules on the number of hotel or vacation-rental units at resorts in the unincorporated county. Lock-out units are basically two hotel rooms each with its own entrance but accessible to each other through common entrances.
▪ Review a proposal to allow an added three feet of height to buildings that raise their base-flood elevation by three feet. If eventually approved, the allowable height would go from 35 feet to 38 feet. A separate provision for Ocean Reef, a private Key Largo community, would allow a 40-foot height.
▪ Hear a recommendation from county Marine Resources staff to pursue a ban on floating structures that can become costly nuisances when they sink. “Floating structures are a particular problem because, unlike vessels, they do not typically have any identifiers with which to track down the owner, may not have navigational lights, [and] are typically not built to any manufacturing standards,” says a report.
Kevin Wadlow: 305-440-3206