FPL Power Plant Proposal Aims for the Heart of Panther Habitat

Map of "Panther Focus Area" surrounding Hendry County power plant proposal.

By Panagioti Tsolkas, Earth First! Journal

According to a letter sent on May 2, 2011 by the US Fish & Wildlife Service, a new power plant proposal has begun the permitting process for a site located in Hendry County—primary habitat of Florida panther, considered to be one of the most endangered mammals in the world.

This proposal exemplifies, once again, the need to protect the critical habitat of remaining panthers, which has been listed as endangered for over 40 years. In February 2010, US Fish & Wildlife Service, the same agency reviewing the Hendry County power plant proposal, denied a petition seeking to designate critical habitat for the cats. A judge upheld the denial on April 6, 2011. On April 20, the Center for Biological Diversity and other conservation group filed an Appeal to the 11th Circuit Court to overturn a judge’s denial of critical habitat status. In the meantime, if projects like this power plant move forward, the point will be moot.

The details for the Hendry County plant are still trickling out, but the facility is rumored to be a massive fossil fuel power plant which would emit millions of tons in emissions and suck billions of gallons of water from the aquifer and regional wetlands. Yet, in this age of greenwash, it is of course masquerading as a solar project (as FPL has also done recently at their Barley Barber facility across Lake Okeechobee, near Indiantown, Florida).

To quote the Hendry County Planning & Zoning Department, who approved the zoning change for the development on May 11 of this week, “The applicant intends to develop the site in association with Florida Power & Light Company [FPL].” The rezone is approved for “utility uses, specifically a ‘Clean Energy Center’ which would include, but is not limited to natural gas and solar energy.” FPL already operates the two largest fossil fuel power plants in the US, all in the Everglades watershed, both within 70 miles of this site.

But the specific details of this industrial project are irrelevant, as nothing of an industrial scale is appropriate in this area. Along with panther habitat, the immediate area surrounding the site is also home to Audubon’s crested caracara, Eastern indigo snake, and Wood Stork, all federally protected endangered species. The area also provides resting, feeding, and nesting sites for a variety of migratory bird species which FWS notes “must be taken into consideration during project planning and design.”

The proposed power plant site sits on the border of the Big Cypress Reservation of the Seminole Tribe. The tribe has not yet entered comments on the project.

Click here for FWS report, including the map above.

Posted in News and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .


  1. Pingback: Cougar News » Blog Archive » Power plant proposed in Florida panther habitat

  2. Please leave this habitat for those it’s intended. I urge your benevolence toward the well being of the panther population.

    Thank you.

  3. This upsets me so. Man is not going to stop till these beautiful cat are gone forever. There are so many more places you could stick that power plant, I can give you a good place to stick it but you have to have it right where it can destory the panther hadat. Man is just stomp down stupid and evil, nothing gets in man’s way for geting what he wants. May God forgive you cause I won’t.

  4. I love felines. I respect wildlife because we can not live out of it
    we are not allowed to ignore it.

    All animals -and these panthers too- deserve a decent life and need our protection.

  5. ¿PERO ES QUE LOS HUMANOS NO VAMOS A PARAR HASTA QUE EXTINGAMOS TODOS LOS ANIMALES DEL PLANETA ? cualqiuer animal merece ser protegido y respetado .

  6. Please leave this habitat for those it’s intended. I urge your benevolence toward the well being of the panther population.

    Thank you.

  7. Please leave the poor panthers in peace! Go construct
    this plant somewhere else far away from any kind of
    animals and human beings and away from their habitats.
    God will bless you and your family!!

  8. Florida Panthers ARE MUCH MORE VALUABLE TO THIS PLANET than a power plant. Bring an older power plant up to date or better yet, DO NOT build one at all.

  9. Yet another attrocity against animals! Please stop this horrible raping of our country and its inhumane attitude toward the animals who share it. THEY WERE HERE FIRST!!

  10. Pingback: Cougar News » Blog Archive » Power plant in Florida panther habitat wins zoning approval


  12. Pingback: Tired of these motherf#@in’ snakes in the ‘Glades?! « Earth First! Newswire

  13. Pingback: FPL brings pipeline wars to Florida’s Everglades, again « Earth First! Newswire

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.