Acquisition of Florida Power and Light Company Lands in the East Everglades Expansion Area
The Final Environmental Impact Statement (Final EIS) for the Acquisition of Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) Land in the East Everglades Expansion Area (EEEA) will be released for public review on December 4, 2015. The document can be accessed by clicking the Documents List link at the left side of this page.
The Final EIS presents five alternatives for National Park Service (NPS) acquisition of FPL land in the EEEA to facilitate the hydrological and ecological restoration of the Park. They include a Congressionally-authorized land exchange, a fee-for-easement land exchange, direct purchase or condemnation, and acquisition of a perpetual flowage easement.
The EIS addresses the potential environmental impacts from the acquisition of FPL land in the park, as well as the indirect impacts that could result from the subsequent construction and operation of transmission lines that could be built by FPL either inside or outside the park as a result of the land acquisition alternative selected.
The Final EIS identifies Alternative 3, Fee-for-fee Land Exchange, as the NPS preferred alternative. Under this alternative, the NPS would acquire fee title to the 320-acre FPL property through an exchange for park property. NPS land conveyed to FPL (the "exchange corridor") would consist of 260 acres along 6.5 miles of the eastern boundary of the EEEA. The exchange would be subject to terms and conditions that are to be agreed upon between NPS and FPL and incorporated into a binding exchange agreement. FPL would be required to allow the United States the perpetual right to flood and submerge the exchange corridor consistent with hydrologic restoration requirements.
This alternative has been revised from the Draft EIS to the Final EIS due to updated transmission line siting requirements included in the state site certification process that were not available in time for the Draft EIS. The final order of certification directed FPL to pursue the use of the West Consensus Corridor as the primary corridor for siting transmission lines and avoid siting any transmission lines in the park. The FPL West Preferred Corridor (which includes the NPS exchange lands) would only be used for placement of FPL western transmission lines in the event that an adequate right-of-way within the FPL West Consensus Corridor outside of the park boundary cannot be secured in a timely manner and at a reasonable cost.
The key change in this alternative from the Draft EIS to Final EIS is a commitment that FPL shall reconvey to the NPS any and all acreage in the exchange corridor determined to be unneeded by FPL to build transmission lines in the West Consensus Corridor. The park boundary would be adjusted after the reconveyance is complete to reflect final land ownership between FPL and NPS.
The Draft EIS was available for public review and comment from January 17, 2014, through March 18, 2014. The Final EIS responds to, and incorporates, agency and public comments received on the Draft EIS.
After a 30-day waiting period, the NPS Southeast Region Director will sign a Record of Decision announcing the alternative selected for implementation and completing the National Environmental Policy Act process.
Thank you for your interest in Everglades National Park.
Pedro M. Ramos
Brien F. Culhane
Chief, Planning and Compliance
Everglades National Park