Florida Embracing Buccaneer Pipeline Project --- So Far
While Pennsylvania and New Jersey would like nothing more than
to give Williams' proposed MarketLink expansion the boot, Florida
is opening its arms to the company's Buccaneer Natural Gas Pipeline
In a letter to FERC, the Central Florida Development Council
(CFDC) --- a public/private partnership between the Polk County
Board of County Commissioners and 14 Chambers of Commerce ---
called on FERC to give the Buccaneer project the green light,
saying it was needed to meet the state's energy needs, reduce its
reliance on a single gas pipeline, and would provide untold
economic and environmental benefits [CP00-14]. A copy of the letter
was sent to Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.
"We urge your support of the construction of additional natural
gas transmission pipelines to Florida and our area to foster
economic competition and eliminate the current reliance on a single
provider," the council said. "We also urge that the federal, state
and local agencies work cooperatively with The Williams Cos. to
assure that their proposed pipeline project is approved and
constructed in a manner that meets" environmental and community
Williams has proposed a route for Buccaneer "that, for the most
part, circles the state's metropolitan areas on tracts of land that
are currently undeveloped to minimize conflicts with existing
development," the CFDC told the Commission. As a result, "new
development will be able to plan for the pipeline as part of the
natural expansion of the urban area," it said.
"The route proposed by The Williams Cos. and their approach to
citizen and landowner involvement in the planning process is an
excellent beginning to the provision of much-needed infrastructure
to meet our state's energy needs well into the next century."
From an economic standpoint, affected landowners "will be
compensated for the use of their property," and the Buccaneer
project will pay an estimated $3.8 million in tangible property
taxes each year to Polk County, which is located between Tampa and
Orlando. "These economic benefits will be augmented by the $1.3
billion construction cost, much of which will be spent in Florida,"
the council said.
In addition, the CFDC touted the benefits that "the use of
natural gas in the generation of electricity can provide to air
quality and costs of electricity" in the Sunshine State.
The Buccaneer project would serve Polk County, which will be the
"site of thousands of new megawatts of electricity coming on line
via expansions at Tampa Electric Co.'s Polk Power Station, Florida
Power's Andrew Hines Energy Complex, the City of Lakeland's
MacIntosh Power Plant and some of our new cogeneration facilities,"
the CFDC noted.
"Also, we are working with six proposed merchant plant
opportunities, most in the 750 to 800 MW range. We feel confident
at least two of these proposed plants will be added to our growing
inventory of electric power generators. It is anticipated all of
these expansions/new plants will use natural gas to fuel their