Acquisition of Florida Power and Light Company Lands in the East Everglades Expansion Area
The Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the acquisition of a parcel of land owned by Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) in the East Everglades Expansion Area (EEEA) of Everglades National Park is available for public review. The FEIS can be accessed by clicking the Document List link at the left side of this page.
The FEIS 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 FEIS 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.
Alternative 3, "Fee-for-Fee Land Exchange," is 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" or "West Preferred Corridor" as it is called in the FEIS) 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.
Alternative 3 was revised from the Draft EIS to the FEIS due to updated transmission line siting requirements included in the State of Florida site certification process that were not available in time for the Draft EIS. The State's May 2014 final order certified a new transmission corridor that is largely outside the park boundary and only uses a portion of the 260-acre exchange corridor within the park. It is called the "West Consensus Corridor". The final order directed FPL to pursue the use of the West Consensus Corridor as the primary corridor for siting transmission lines and to avoid siting any transmission lines in the park. The West Preferred Corridor would only be used for placement of FPL transmission lines in the event that an adequate right-of-way within the West Consensus Corridor outside of the park boundary could not 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 all acreage in the exchange corridor determined to be unneeded by FPL to build transmission lines in the West Consensus Corridor. FPL would not develop land within the exchange corridor until completing the requirements of the site certification process and determining land ownership needs. 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