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Gov. Rick Scott praises environmental agency's handling of FPL's dirty cooling canals

Gov. Rick Scott seems satisfied with how state regulators have handled the Florida Power and Light’s troubled cooling canals at Turkey Point.

On Monday, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection cited Florida Power & Light for threatening nearby drinking water supplies and ordered the utility to come up with a plan to stop the spread of an underground plume of saltwater.

Critics say there has been evidence for years that the cooling canal system was harming water beyond the nuclear power plant.

After DEP signed off on a December 2014 uprating project that expanded power output from the plant’s twin reactors, multiple plaintiffs including cities sued, saying state regulators did too little to address a growing underground plume that has pushed saltwater inland about four miles. An administrative judge in February agreed, faulting DEP for not citing the agency for violations and ordering state officials to redo the plan.

Here is a partial transcript of Scott’s replies after an event about human trafficking in Miami Wednesday morning:

Q: “Should DEP have acted earlier on the cooling canals and do you have an action plan if there is contaminated water as a result of the cooling canals?”

A: “We have received that. We are reviewing that right now.”

Q: "On the cooling canals what do you mean you received that and reviewing that? What did you receive?”

A: “There was a court decision so my office is reviewing that right now.”

Q: “Do you have an action plan if we have contaminated water?”

A: “My office is reviewing it.”

Q: “Are you satisfied with the pace that DEP has addressed issue of cooling canals?”

A: “I think they are working hard.”

Q: “So you are satisfied even though some critics brought this up first in December 2014 that there was going to be contamination?”

A: “I think between water management districts, DEP, everybody is working very hard to solve issues like this.”

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