Pipeline construction: Threatened species in danger - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Pipeline construction: Threatened species in danger

Florida Power & Light says it can help bring a better power source for thousands of people in our area, but part of the plan isn't sitting well with environmentalists. 

FPL wants to build a pipeline for a new plant, but it runs straight through an area with about 100 gopher tortoises. The gopher tortoise is classified as a threatened species here in Florida.

The Palm Beach County Environmental Coalition wants to make sure the gopher tortoises who live near the new project are not hurt or killed.

The 2200-megawatt facility would be the first power plant built in Palm Beach County since 1963. Gulfstream has already relocated 18 tortoises because of this construction.

The Palm Beach County Environmental Coalition claims Gulfstream has not relocated all of them, and they believe right now more than 100 tortoises are still in danger.

Panagioti Tsolkas, Palm Beach County Environmental Coalition states, "Gopher tortoises often spend their day underground in the cool sand. Those trucks can be a threat and they wouldn't even know it. They also live with other several endangered species. We mentioned one, the Indigo snake, which is also a big concern for road kill."

Carin Andre, with Gulfstream Pipeline claimed "protecting the gopher tortoise is a top priority for Gulfstream... We believe our relocation plan is comprehensive and effective."

FWC says it's not necessary to relocate many of the tortoises because they won't be directly impacted by the pipeline.

The Palm Beach County Environmental Coalition disagrees, and later this morning they will appeal the decision not to relocate the rest of the tortoises.

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