The Power Plant Controversy - Updated 10/25/02
What should city officials do about the proposed plant sites in Deerfield Beach? Should they fight El Paso-Enron? Or should they embrace and promote these projects?
By their very nature power plants raise environmental questions. This is especially true when such industrial sites are built near residential areas. Regardless of the merits of the proposed El Paso-Enron power plants on other grounds, west Deerfield residents have every right to be concerned about the impact of these facilities on their neighborhoods.
They also have a right to expect their elected representatives and city officials who are supposed to serve them to take every possible step either to prevent such projects which are deemed to be inconsistent with the landscape of the community, or to insure that the impact of such projects will be mitigated to the greatest possible extent.
We share the concern expressed by some residents that the city administration, which bears the greatest responsibility in this case, is not pursuing their cause, but is once again promoting development because of the supposed economic benefit — without regard to how these projects impact on the quality of life in Deerfield Beach. For beachside residents, this is déjà vu all over again.
City officials claim that their hands are tied and they can do nothing to stop construction of merchant power plants. Others say these plants should not be built until a new state-wide energy policy is formulated. They propose legislative measures to delay construction or insure safer facilities.
The Deerfield projects are now in stasis because of the Enron collapse and because the Broward County Board of County Commissioners adopted a moratorium on July 26 sponsored by Dist. 2 commissioner Kristin D. Jacobs, which delayed the issuance of permits for merchant power plants in Broward County and give city and county officials a chance to evaluate the Governor's 2020 Energy Study.