Stacked

In the words of Maynard G. Krebs: Boom, Boom, Ka-Boom.

The four 350-foot-tall candy cane-striped smokestacks that have towered over Port Everglades and spewed pollution over Fort Lauderdale for a half century will come down on July 16.

Florida Power & Light, which closed the oil-burning plant earlier this year to make way for a cleaner one using mostly natural gas, set the date for the demolition of the smokestacks and boilers on Wednesday.

FPL said a new $1.2 billion plant will cut emissions of carbon dioxide, a “greenhouse” gas contributing to climate change, by half and reduce overall emissions by 90 percent. Three gray stacks about 150 feet tall will be built as part of the new project.

The old plant emitted a number of pollutants and soot, drawing periodic complaints from nearby residents and environmental groups.  — Miami Hurled

FPL-1500-panorama-12-18-05

This warrants a call to FPL.  I am put through to Public Relations Specialist Jerry Mungo.

“No, actually we don’t plan on any kind of celebration,” he replies to my question.  “In fact, the feeling around here is a bit wistful, if you follow.”

I don’t.

“Well, it’s a little piece of tradition that FPL established and now stands to lose.  Consider that for half a century, these stacks have produced more deadly pollution  — carcinogens, SO2, nitrous oxide, etc. — than any other single or combined source in south Florida, including auto emissions at a time when highways and auto traffic have replicated exponentially.  We’re talking about almost 2,000 tons — TONS! — of deadly airborne toxins each and every year!  So we’re a little sad about letting go of our legacy.”

Well, you’ll always have your sterling reputation for price gouging and corrupt management.

“Sure, but it’s not quite as tangible as layers of black soot on people’s backyard citrus trees, stained sidewalks, and filthy windshields.”

I suspect nothing will ever top your performance during Wilma — 99% of power knocked out in all three counties.  From a category 1 storm!  You guys are awesome.

“As amazing as that experience was, we learned a whole lot about customer relations.  Since there’s no way we’re ever going to be responsible and responsive, why bother putting any genuine resources into the effort?  Now we train our people to be calm, polite, and utterly without substance.  It’s a policy that serves us well even today.”

You people did an astonishing job of resisting environmentalists’ concerns for 50 years.  Any tips you’d like to share with Tobacco, Big Agriculture, or the Taliban?

“We stay focused on what’s vital to our operation: money.  It costs a lot of millions to, um, educate and orient elected officials, members of consumer protection agencies, and advisory panels established to reduce our profits in the pesky interest of public health, but at the end of the Fiscal Year, it shows just how worthwhile those investments are.”

Thanks, Jerry.  You’ve been very helpful.

“Say, this is all off the record, right?”

Might as well be — nobody reads my blog.

“Okay!  Have a great day!”

Damn — I forgot to ask him for one of those nifty “I Heart Brown-Outs” tee shirts FPL was offering after the last power outage.  Oh, well.  One thing you can count on– there’ll be others.

Bonus Question: What is the name of the building associated with the “Boom Boom Kaboom” reference in the first paragraph?  Prize: free FPL tee shirt.  When I get it.

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4 Responses to Stacked

  1. Nobody says:

    Great post!

  2. Old Timer says:

    “Hey good buddy — want to go downtown and watch them knock down the old Endicott Building? Boom Boob KaBOOM!” But keep your tee shirt. FPL is evil.

  3. Squathole says:

    Thanks, Nobody. I knew you were still out there.
    Old Timer: Got it in one. Thanks..

  4. Hugh Bris says:

    Now that you mention it, didn’t Maynard run the Public Utilities Commission for a while?

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