Florida Horror Story: Frightening tales from the Sunshine State

From Florida Man to the Man in the Governor’s Mansion, Florida is rife with scary stuff. The environment’s in danger, the same guy seems to keep popping up again and again in our elections, and then (horrors!) there were The Bins.

Future Slasher: The Pipeline!

Floridians are in the unyielding grip of monstrously huge power companies. Two of the main offenders, Duke Energy and FP&L, are set to reap the benefits of a forthcoming project dubbed the Sabal Trail natural gas pipeline, a $3 billion venture between Spectra Energy and FP&L parent company NextEra.

The third of its kind to service the state, the pipeline would extend hundreds of miles from Alabama to just south of Orlando, delivering 1.1 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day, which the power companies would then use to generate and sell power. They say it’s an essential means of providing customers with low-cost power that burns significantly cleaner than coal or oil.

The rub?

The pipeline, 36 inches in diameter, will be buried underground along 267 miles of Duke Energy right-of-way. Engineers will have to drill under rivers, including the Suwanee and, as the Orlando Sentinel put it, “gouge a hole” through environmentally sensitive Green Swamp in Lake County, which connects to the Floridan Aquifer, a key water source in the state.

Accidents happen, and Spectra is no stranger to them, notes the Florida Bulldog, an investigative blog. The company has had dozens of accidents and citations in the past decade on other pipeline projects.

If that’s not enough to give one pause, consider the fact that Governor Rick Scott is an investor in Spectra, and the power companies that benefit from the project gave millions to help Scott get re-elected.

The Frackening

click to enlarge Florida Horror Story: Frightening tales from the Sunshine State. - CENTER FOR ADVANCED RESEARCH AND TEACHING
Florida Horror Story: Frightening tales from the Sunshine State.

You’d think the practice of pouring chemicals into the ground in order to extract oil or gas would be an obviously bad idea, especially in areas close to or within environmentally sensitive lands.
But no matter.

Companies are seeking to conduct hydraulic fracturing — or fracking, as it’s commonly called — in southwest Florida. What’s more, they hope to do so in Collier County, within critical Florida panther habitat and near, once again, sensitive wetlands.

Environmentalists are trying to prevent the practice from ever taking place in the state, and some Democratic lawmakers have pushed for statewide fracking bans. The town of Bonita Springs has already passed a ban.

Those efforts might be for naught, though. Some Republican state lawmakers are trying to pass bills encouraging fracking, including one that preempts cities and counties from passing such bans. The bill would even override the will of municipalities that already have a ban in place.

Charlie Lives!

He left the governor’s mansion and the GOP to pursue a U.S. Senate seat as an Independent.

And lost.

He ran for governor again, this time as a Democrat.

And lost.

But his political dreams could not be stifled.

Here he comes again: The Candidate Who Would. Not. Die.

This week Crist announced that he’s running to be the U.S. Congressman representing Pinellas County’s newly reconfigured 13th Congressional District. He faces a Democratic primary challenge in Eric Lynn, a former defense official who’s been running since the start of the year. What little polling has been done shows Lynn as being little threat to Crist in a primary.

But here’s the problem for Crist: He’s haunted by his past.

He opposed gay marriage and adoptions.

He supported display of the 10 Commandments in public buildings.

He said Sarah Palin “would do a great job.”

He may be the candidate who wouldn’t die, but the ghosts of soundbites past aren’t going away, either.

Blue Meanies

Teeming with lovingly restored bungalows, nascent condo towers and a gorgeously serene waterfront, St. Petersburg was a city poised for its prime.

Then they showed up.

Block by block, men in trucks wheeled them out.

They were huge.

They were inconvenient.

They were bright blue.

Despite residents’ screams, the big bad government insisted that these beasts had to be fed with used glassware, plastic and aluminum, then periodically walked all the way to the curb, where the vile things would be emptied of their filth.

No one listened to the desperate pleas of the eyesore-enslaved. Entertaining guests on the veranda was suddenly out of the question; sipping martinis would not be possible in the shadow of the big blue bins.

But then, reprieve.

All of a sudden, the scourge that had so dominated St. Petersburgers’ lives for almost the whole summer were to be banished to the alleyways! Triumph!

But then came the attack of the giant recycling trucks… 

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