Clean Water Act Case Against Florida Power & Light’s Turkey Point Nuclear Power Plant Will Proceed

On November 17, 2017, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida – for a second time – denied a Motion to Dismiss filed by defendant Florida Power & Light Company in a federal Clean Water Act citizen suit filed by Davis & Whitlock on behalf of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE), the Tropical Audubon Society, and Friends of the Everglades.

The Plaintiffs brought the lawsuit to address past and ongoing illegal discharges of pollutants, including radioactive tritium, from the unlined cooling canal system at  FPL’s Turkey Point Nuclear Power Plant near Miami into the Biscayne Bay and the Biscayne Aquifer.  These discharges are in violation of FPL’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permit issued under the Clean Water Act, and moreover threaten the Outstanding National Resource Waters of the Biscayne Bay and the Biscayne Aquifer, the water supply for Miami-Dade County and the Florida Keys.

FPL’s novel argument that Plaintiffs lacked standing to challenge its illegal, ongoing discharges of pollutants was first denied by U.S. Magistrate Judge Alicia Otazo-Reyes in a Report and Recommendation filed on September 20, 2017.  FPL objected to Magistrate Judge Otazo-Reyes’ Report and Recommendation; however, after hearing arguments of the parties on November 16, 2017, District Judge Darrin P. Gayles took little more than a day to Affirm and Adopt the Magistrate Judge’s Report and Recommendation and to deny FPL’s motion to dismiss.

FPL is also concurrently asking its ratepayers to pay over $200 million in costs relating to its attempts to clean-up the groundwater contamination in the Biscayne Aquifer discussed above.