The mayor and Florida International University biology professor pulls no punches in describing the environmental disaster that awaits Miami — and how big corporations, particularly FPL, contribute to the problem.
His assessment of the utility company: “An evil genius.”
For years, Stoddard has railed against FPL’s nuclear reactors at Turkey Point, led the charge to stop new transmission lines in South Miami-Dade, and vehemently opposed the power company’s $22 million campaign for a duplicitous amendment to the Florida Constitution that was sold to voters as pro-solar power but really aimed to crush it.
He’s pointed out that FPL has long had the state’s politicians in its pocket, shelling out $8 million to them directly last year and another $8 million in pushing the anti-solar amendment. And he’s said that Gov. Rick Scott has packed the Public Service Commission (PSC), the regulatory body that generally rubber-stamps FPL demands, with utility lovers.
“FPL has bought political control of the Legislature, the Cabinet, and the PSC,” Stoddard says. “It throws corporate money against any candidate who doesn’t toe their line.”
It’s the solar issue that has consumed Stoddard of late. He told Hialeah schoolkids it is the best way to combat global warming, and he’s working with an energy fund to get lower group rates for all Miami-Dade residents. He believes solar power is crucial to combating the sea-level rise that endangers South Florida. “Nuclear is dying of excessive costs,” he says. “Utilities are deathly afraid of rooftop solar because residential customers are their cash cow.”
Because of its political power, FPL has been able to prevent corporate competitors from providing solar, wind, and other kinds of energy in Florida.
Susan Glickman, Florida director of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy Action Fund, an advocacy group, says the Sunshine State is one of only four states (along with Kentucky, North Carolina, and Oklahoma) “where the law prohibits anyone other than your government-assigned monopoly utility from selling electricity — solar or otherwise.”