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Deerfield Enron Plant : No Threat to Coral Springs

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At the City Commission meeting on Tuesday September 5, an interesting appeal had taken place.  Members of the Coconut Creek City Commission had come before our commissioners and asked to join with them in the fight to stop the New  Enron Electrical Generating plant to be built Deerfield Beach. Coconut Creek is suing Deerfield Beach.

Luckily for Enron, zoning rules in Deerfield Beach put the approval or rejection of the plant solely in the hands of a staff committee instead of an elected body. Due to a complex annexation law in the state, staff members of the Deerfield Beach City Hall (and not elected officials) had the final say on the plant. Thus, there was little opportunity for the public to wage an opposition campaign against the plant and elected officials reportedly had no authority to approve or reject the plant.  Coconut Creek is bent on suing Deerfield Beach on the grounds that the approval of the plant should have been by the elected officials. 

Not all of the city commissioners are in favor of joining this lawsuit. As a matter of fact, Mayor Sommerer has come out and said that he is reluctant to sue another city. This is a worthy stance to take, and I want to further the cause by saying that this new Enron Plant is no threat to Coral Springs. 

Fact not Fiction

Any protest to the plant should be based on facts not fiction. The new Plant will utilize natural gas as a means of fuel. Natural gas is cleaner burning than fossil fuels.  Currently, the plant in Port Everglades use diesel and crude oil to produce the electricity we need. The Everglades plant currently  produces 3 times the amount of electricity than the proposed Enron plant. However the Port Everglades facility   produces 130 times more Nitrous Oxides and 21 more time the Sulphur Dioxide emissions than the proposed plant.  There will be no visible pollutant plume coming from the new plant. Have you seen the Port Everglades facility lately? Maybe what we should be demanding is that they replace the “Old” facilities with the new ones. We would significantly reduce the pollutants by doing so.  There is also the Turkey Point Nuclear Facility which may be clean burning, but poses other damages associated with nuclear wastes. 

Prevailing winds is always an issue when it comes to burning anything. Prevailing, means the direction the wind is most likely to blow from. Airports are designed specifically for this as runways are lined up in the direction of the wind to allow easy takeoffs and landings for aircraft. If you ever used either the Miami Airport or the Fort Lauderdale Airport you will notice that 99% of the time the airplanes take off from the east or west. The prevailing winds usually come out of the South East or South West, or from the east or West. Rarely in our neck of the woods do winds come in for the Northeast. Any worry about pollution from the new plant should be quickly dispelled. The fact is for 99% of the time the polluting stream (if it really is a polluting stream) is not headed in our direction. If this was not the case, we would be smelling the garbage from Mount Trashmore more often.  Currently, Port Everglades is the real threat to Coral Springs as we are in its plume path. Considering that Port Everglades produces 130 times more Nitrous Oxide  and 21 times more Sulphur Dioxide pollutants, why don’t our politicians in this city tackle that problem? That is the real threat to our local environment.

One of the issues is whether we want a Power Plant to be near us at all. This is called ‘Not in our Backyard’ syndrome. Some people feel a power plant is ok as long as it is in some other city far far away from us and let them worry about it.  I think that the fact that it is in Deerfield Beach and not in Coral Springs is a plus for us and a minus for them. It would be more than 12 miles from the center of Coral Springs which is far enough for me. I don’t think that this will effect our property values. After all, adjacent to our city is the largest polluting facility and eyesore located off of Sample Road,  ‘ Mount Trashmore ‘ operated by Southern Sanitation. This mountain of garbage which can be seen from several hundred homes located in the eastern parts of our city (just drive down Wiles Road) is closer to us than the plant. As far as I know, no one has ever mentioned that they don’t want to live in Coral Springs because Coconut Creek has a mountain of garbage. How about the Sewage Treatment facility located in the South part of our city? No one ever mentions that. How about our property values going up as a result of cheaper abundant Electrical Power? The effect of the new facility in Deerfield Beach will do little to change the property values in Coral Springs.

We Need the Energy

Even though we are all pretty smart and receive in our mail enough information regarding conservation, most of us do not conserve energy, in fact we use it. As much as possible. We use it to air condition our homes, for our pool pumps, and for the computer that I am using to write this article. I rarely turn off the monitor. I can’t be bothered to save the $10.00 per year. However, all of this adds up. Soon, we could be like California with Brown Outs. We could be at the mercy of the Utility Companies as they can increase their charges to us as they approach their maximum output levels. We need to be practical about this. Building new plants near where energy is consumed is the only way we will have a reliable cost effective energy for our future.

The Fight Against Deerfield Beach: Not our fight.

Having looked at the reasons we need the power plant and removed the ‘fears’ that some politicians want to invoke on you, the question is why are we even thinking about suing another city?  Some of the politicians claim that the zoning for the power plant in Deerfield Beach was obtained illegally and not within Deerfield Beach’s land development code. This is not our fight.  Instead we should be thanking the Deerfielder’s for placing the plant in their backyard. If the Citizens of Deerfield Beach don’t want it, it is up to them to tackle their own bylaws and city commissioners. Hey, we have enough trouble of our own considering the problems with our charter when it comes to city commissioners. Now we want to fight another city? It is not our fight, and we shouldn’t be suckered into it.

In the coming weeks and at the next city commissioner meeting this issue will be discussed again.  There is currently no unanimity amongst of City Commissioners with this topic, and we should do all we can to tell them not to get involved. There are better ways to spend taxpayers money.

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Howard Melamed

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