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Florida's Newest Natural Gas Pipeline Closer To Becoming A Reality

The Florida Public Service Commission has approved Florida Power and Light’s contracts with the companies that will build a new natural gas pipeline in the state.

The project is expected to cost more than $3.5 billion and the commission also  signed off on letting Florida Power and Light recoup the cost of transporting natural gas through the system by charging customers additional fees. Those fees would pay for a project that could carry $15 billion worth of natural gas over the next 25-to-40 years.

The effort is expected to yield more than 8,000 temporary construction jobs. When complete, it would be the third natural gas pipeline in the state and Public Service Commissioner Eduardo Balbis says it’d substantially increase Florida’s natural gas supply. 

“We have two existing pipeline at or near capacity, this adds the third one," he said. " I think Florida Power and Light went through the steps and that it’s the most cost-effective option, and I fully support it.” 

The pipeline could be finished as soon as 2017 if approved by other state and federal agencies, including the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The proposed route runs from Southeastern Alabama, through Georgia and down to Central and South Florida. Fuel from the system would be used by consumers throughout Florida, and FP&L customers would only be charged for what they use.

*Correction: FP&L will be able to charge customers additional fees for transporting natural gas through the proposed pipeline, and not the construction of the line itself.

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Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas.  She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. 

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