The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release
David Guest, Earthjustice, (850) 681-0031
Manley Fuller, Florida Wildlife Federation, (850) 656-7113

Last Planned Coal Plant in Florida Cancelled

Seminole Electric moving to renewables, natural gas

Earthjustice applauds
Seminole Electric Cooperative for its decision to withdraw its
application to build a new coal-fired generating unit at its plant in
Palatka, FL. The decision comes in response to an Earthjustice
challenge to the new
coal plant because the generating unit posed a serious air pollution
risk to surrounding communities.
Seminole had tried to understate the extent of the new air
pollution the plant would have caused and avoid having to install
stringent control technologies to minimize the pollution. On behalf of
Florida Wildlife Federation, Earthjustice challenged the
estimated volume of hazardous pollutants that the proposed plant would
have discharged.
The electric company today changed direction and now wants to
instead build a natural gas fired power plant that will facilitate
renewable energy by smoothing out power generation and fill any gaps
created by lack of sun or wind.
Seminole Electric is also considering building a 1 to 5 megawatt
solar energy project in southwest Florida. The company was recently
awarded the right to issue low-cost bonds for the solar project under a
federal clean-energy program.
"It's great to see that Seminole Electric realizes that it's time
for Florida to move away from outdated, dirty coal technology and
toward more modern energy sources," said Earthjustice attorney David
Guest. "Coal generates more of the greenhouse gases
that cause global warming than other fuels -- and generates almost
twice as many global warming pollutants as natural gas."
Earthjustice has been at the forefront of moving utilities and
regulators away from coal. In June 2007, Earthjustice successfully
challenged Florida Power and Light's proposal for what would have been
the largest new coal plant in the United States, near
Everglades National Park. The landmark environmental victory marked the
first time global warming played a role in a decision by the state's
utility regulatory agency, the Public Service Commission.
Seminole Electric's decision is also a watershed moment for Florida.
"Seminole Electric did the right thing here," said Florida
Wildlife Federation president Manley Fuller. "It makes no sense to add
new coal generating units in Florida when we're finally moving to
install renewable energy sources like solar."

Earthjustice is a non-profit public interest law firm dedicated to protecting the magnificent places, natural resources, and wildlife of this earth, and to defending the right of all people to a healthy environment. We bring about far-reaching change by enforcing and strengthening environmental laws on behalf of hundreds of organizations, coalitions and communities.