Rick Scott Refuses to Vote on His Largest Donor’s Proposed Power Plant Until After the Election

From Deirdra Funcheon of the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting, 09/28/2018:

By cancelling a scheduled hearing this month, Gov. Rick Scott and his cabinet avoided voting on a new power plant until after Election Day. Scott, who is term-limited as governor, is in a tight race against incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson for U.S. Senate.

The power plant’s approval would benefit Florida Power and Light, Scott’s largest corporate campaign donor and a company in which the governor has invested as much as $500,000.

… The Siting Board was scheduled to hold a public hearing and vote on the proposed power plant during a cabinet meeting September 11, but Scott’s administration postponed the matter until the next such meeting on December 4, four weeks after the election. At that point, Scott will be a lame duck, either as an outgoing governor or as Florida’s senator-elect.

McKinley Lewis, the governor’s deputy communications director, told the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting that the Siting Board meeting and FPL vote were rescheduled because they conflicted with Rosh Hashanah. But the Jewish holiday didn’t prevent Scott and the cabinet from meeting that day in Tallahassee as the Clemency Board, which hears requests to restore ex-felons’ voting rights. Scott also campaigned in The Villages, in Sumter County, that day.

… The Sierra Club, which has fought the proposed plant from the start, objected to the missing of today’s deadline. “To date, Florida Power and Light and your administration have obscured or outright hid the Dania Beach plant from the community members most directly affected,” Julie Kaplan, a lawyer for the Sierra Club, wrote to the governor and cabinet members in a letter today.

… FPL has significant financial ties to Scott’s political career. Executives and employees of FPL and NextEra Energy, FPL’s corporate parent, have contributed $103,900 to Scott’s Senate campaign, according to federal campaign finance records. Jim Robo, NextEra Energy’s chairman and CEO, has himself given $5,400 to Scott’s Senate campaign. During Scott’s 2014 gubernatorial re-election bid, FPL kicked in $1 million to the governor’s political action committee, Let’s Get to Work PAC. Scott also owns as much as $500,000 in stock in NextEra Energy Partners, a subsidiary of NextEra Energy that invests in natural-gas infrastructure assets and wind and solar projects.

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