Turkey Point Nuclear Plant in Miami-Dade County. CONTRIBUTED

A noticeable void was felt without Islamorada’s vice mayor Ken Davis during the council’s Sept. 17 virtual meeting, as several took a moment to share a few words about the man many respected. 

Mayor Mike Forster kicked off the meeting by acknowledging the passing of Davis due to a fatal medical episode on Sept. 12. Forster said Davis’ passing is still very surreal as thoughts and prayers go out to his wife, Charlotte, and the rest of his family. A moment of silence was subsequently shared before the council proceeded with its agenda. 

Forster named Mayor – Legalizing golf carts discussed - A man wearing a suit and tie - Business executive
Vice Mayor Ken Davis

“Our whole council, staff and town mourns such a great loss of one of our larger-than-life superheroes,” Forster said. 

Resident Robert Moser, of Lower Matecumbe, said the village should strive to keep the public updated on the master plan for the Fills, which is something Davis worked hard on with fellow council members to mitigate the issues seen there over the year. In Davis’ honor, Moser said the village should commemorate his efforts with a plaque or sign on the fence the village plans to install or landscaping.

“If we don’t have funds, then we can set up a fund for donations to do something,” Moser said. “I just feel he put such an effort forward, as did other council members, that we should do something of that nature.”

Forster said it’s in the best interest to select a vice mayor with his absence. Deb Gillis was approved as vice mayor through November.  

In other matters, the council approved a motion to join other Keys governments in litigation against Florida Power & Light and Florida Department of Environmental Protection over the pollution permit renewal of generating units at Turkey Point Nuclear Plant on Biscayne Bay in Miami-Dade County. Renewal of operating licenses for units three and four at the plant, which are the nuclear pressurized water reactors, would allow an additional 20 years of operation beyond the current licensed operation periods. 

Last December, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved FPL’s application for an additional 20 years of operation. It’s the first time NRC has issued renewed licenses authorizing reactor operation from 60 to 80 years. Last month, DEP issued a notice of intent to issue the permit unless a petition for an administrative hearing is filed. 

In June, Monroe County joined the Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority and Florida Keys Fishing Guides Association to challenge the permit. Monroe County and FKAA are retaining the firm of Lewis, Longman & Walker in the matter. Combined, legal costs to the county and the authority could be from $100,000 to $500,000. 

Village Attorney Roget Bryan told the council that the suit is trying to get better protections for FKAA’s well fields in Florida City, which supplies potable drinking water in the Keys. Continued movements of hypersaline water from cooling canals continues to threaten the well fields. 

“The county has filed a petition to intervene, this is just asking us to see if we have any common ground and synergy in fighting this effort,” Bryan said. 

Approving the motion, Gillis said the water source is important to the Keys. 

“We need to be paying attention to what they (Turkey Point) are doing,” she said. 

Forster said it’s been an ongoing issue, and pressure must be applied. A motion was unanimously approved to provide a financial contribution for litigation costs associated with the case of up to $15,000. 

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