The National Park Service approved a land swap planned by Florida Power & Light and Everglades National Park, which would push construction of FPL power lines to the east side of the park and away from the Shark River Slough, an environmentally sensitive part of the park.
FPL owns a 7.4-mile strip of land along the slough, where power-line construction could interfere with efforts to restore depleted marshes.
FPL plans to swap its land for a 6.5-mile strip of park land on the eastern border of the Everglades National Park. There FPL plans to build three 150-foot-tall power lines that would transmit power from a proposed expansion of the utility’s Turkey Point nuclear plant in Homestead.
The FPL land, which the utility assembled the land in the 1960s and 1970s, is one of a handful of privately owned patches of land within Everglades National Park. Congressional action in 1989 enlarged the park by 107,000 acres.
Linda Friar, a spokeswoman for Everglades National Park, told the Miami Herald that more than 8,000 owners of property inside the park’s boundaries have sold out over the years, leaving just six, including three airboat businesses, two radio tower owners and FPL. [Miami Herald] — Mike Seemuth