Fla. officials join AARP in opposing nuclear cost recovery payment scheme

Bryan Cohen Oct. 3, 2012, 12:18pm

Chief Justice Ricky Polston

MIAMI (Legal Newsline) - A bipartisan group of state and city elected officials, along with AARP Florida, urged the Florida Supreme Court on Wednesday to overturn the nuclear cost recovery payment scheme.

They say the nuclear tax system requires elderly and other ratepayers in the state to pay higher utility bills for nuclear reactors that may never be built. Additionally, the reactors may come online years after the out-of-pocket ratepayers have passed away, they say.

The bipartisan group of lawmakers and numerous municipalities met on Wednesday in a news briefing on the eve of oral arguments before the court. The municipalities include Crestview, Yankeetown, Biscayne Park, Pinecrest, North and South Miami, the Miami-Dade League of Cities and the Broward League of Cities. Each municipality has passed resolutions to oppose the nuclear cost recovery law.

The nuclear tax is being supported by Progress Energy Florida and Florida Power & Light.

Rehwinkel Vasilinda, a Democratic state representative from District 9, initiated and led the group that filed a legislators' amicus brief in support of the constitutional challenge of the cost recovery statute.

Vasilinda referred to the nuclear cost recovery as a hidden tax meant to control energy choices and eliminate competition. Vasilinda has introduced bills to repeal the legislation.

Charles Milsted, the associate state director of AARP Florida, said that the legislature has not responded to consumer concerns about the nuclear tax and as a result, they have sought relief through the state's judicial branch.

Mike Fasano, a Republican state senator from District 11, said that the nuclear cost recovery was sold with inaccurate fiscal projects and false construction promises. He said the financial risks of the utility companies should be borne by shareholders, not taxpayers.

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