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NextGen's Half True claim about Scott and Duke Energy

Gov. Rick Scott has a new enemy on the campaign trail: Billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer. And Steyer has started bringing his message and massive checkbook to the airwaves.

In an Aug. 8, 2014, commercial from Steyer’s political action committee NextGen Climate, the group accused the Republican incumbent of letting utility company Duke Energy run wild on the state’s citizens. The ad references the botched upgrade at the now-shuttered Crystal River nuclear plant and canceled Levy County nuclear project.

"We Floridians are paying billions to the nation's largest power company and getting nothing in return," says a TV reporter. Then the narrator: "One defective power plant. Another never built. Florida fleeced by Duke Energy. Rick Scott knew, but he’s letting Duke keep collecting billions anyway."

The ad flashes a statement attributed to the Tampa Bay Times: "Duke’s customers on the hook for up to $3.2 billion." It also says Scott received $500,000 in campaign contributions from Duke and its pre-merger counterpart, Progress Energy, strongly implying a connection.

The commercial was one of two NextGen Climate ads released attacking Scott. The other accused Scott of accepting campaign contributions from a Texas company performing unauthorized oil drilling in Collier County. We looked at that one in a separate item.

It’s obvious Scott heard of the troubles in Citrus and Levy counties, since it was a major headache for the 1.7 million Florida residents billed by Duke Energy for electricity (the company said it doesn’t comment on political ads). But we wondered, is there something Scott could have done to prevent the utility from pulling in billions for the troubled projects, even though no customer is benefitting from them? PolitiFact Florida decided to check the fine print.


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ed jenkins

The citizens are tired of hearing from this communist who lives in a failed state who wishes to ruin this successful business friendly state. They will not listen to any of his propaganda and want authorities to pursue this communist for attempting to infiltrate this country, something that was thought to be taken care of decades ago.


“During the last legislative session, Sen. John Legg, R-Trinity, sponsored a bill that would have ended the advance fee if utilities failed to obtain a license from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. He also pushed unsuccessfully to make utilities refund advance fee money to consumers if a project falls apart.

Only a modest revision of the advance fee was passed by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Rick Scott in June.”


So, the legislature had the opportunity to eliminate these fees and/or require the companies to return the money in cases like these. And while Scott as governor can only sign or not sign what’s in front of him, he could have let his support of legislation that protected consumers known to the legislators, and the tougher measures might have passed.

It is true Scott did not take as much action to fix future problems as he could have and it’s preposterous to think he ‘didn’t know about it”. It implies he is fine with the practice of allowing advance fees and disinclined to require the energy corporations to return the money to the consumers when things don’t go as planned.

The ad claim in question here sounds closer to Mostly True than Half True to me.

Jim Callahan

Politifact missed the "Florida Power Plant Siting Act".
"Certifications for energy facilities cover almost every aspect of the facility as an all-in-one license for construction and operation of energy facilities. As such, the state pre-empts the issuance of any other type of permit for the facility, except for local zoning and building. Certification is granted for the life of the facility. ...DEP coordinates the certification process. The Siting Board (i.e., the Governor and Cabinet) issues certifications."
SO WHICH GOV & CAB ISSUED CERT FOR LEVY PLANT(IN 2006?)? Crist would have been elected Governor in Nov. 2006, but the certification was likely granted before then.

Jim Callahan

And the winner is...

Certification Issued 08/26/09; signed by Governor Crist;
page 96 (last page)
Conditions of Certification
Progress Energy Florida
Levy Nuclear Power Plant
Modified January 25, 2011

Jim Callahan

Rick Scott was elected governor in November 2010; what was the urgent "modification" by the incoming Governor in January 2011?


Jim, I love it when posters post links! Thank you!

That document may not be a 'smoking gun', but it did lead me to find the names of Mike Halpin, Jeff Littlejohn and Hershel Vinyard, who it seems are Scott's first line of defense to look the other way and not go after polluters.

“Part of the reason for that decline, Byrd said, is the number of inspectors looking for violations has been "slashed and burned" in recent years. The other reason, he said, is because Littlejohn and Halpin control which cases reach the attorneys, even though neither has a law degree.

Littlejohn spent more than 10 years working as a consulting engineer getting state and federal permits for his clients. Vinyard hired him in March 2011 to oversee the DEP's regulatory programs, and he picked Halpin as his assistant deputy secretary.”


One thing’s for sure, Scott's DEP is a festering mess and Rick Scott is not fooling anyone with just recently saying he’ll spend more money on cleaning up the environment.

Bill Thompson

The readers should read the op-ed piece written by former Florida GOP State Senator Paula Dockery on Saturday about the scumbag Scott's "commitment" to the Everglades and his record, or lack thereof, as an environmentalist.

This flip-flopping most horrible man will do and say anything in his desperate attempt to get re-elected.


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