Hendry County Commissioners signed off on the first step Tuesday of a new process for approving power plants. Florida Power and Light submitted the proposal. The company has been looking at a piece of land in the county as the site of a potential power plant for years.
The possibility of building a plant there was blocked last year after FPL lost a court battle with the Seminole Tribe of Florida.
The proposal would create a new future land use category in Hendry County’s comprehensive plan. It would be called an electrical generating facility. There are also two site-specific proposals.
FPL spokesperson Dave McDermitt said the commission’s decision creates the parameters of a potential power plant at the site.
“Some of the parameters are that we would be restricted as to the fuel that could be used, natural gas or solar,” he said. “But…we would have to come back with a much more detailed proposal for consideration by the county as well state and federal agencies.”
The land borders the Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation. Byron Billie lives in Big Cypress. He opposes building a power plant at the site.
“Pretty sure that adding another power plant or anything that would produce something negatively like that to the environment is something that would greatly affect all of us,” he said. “All nationalities, all colors, all races, age, gender. It doesn’t matter.”
If FPL does build a power plant, it would be the first in Hendry County.
The proposals now go to the state for review. They would then head back to county commissioners for adoption.