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Transmission Line Siting Act Highlights
Transmission Lines

Transmission lines deliver electric power over long distances from power plants to sub-stations.


 

The Transmission Line Siting Act (TLSA), ss. 403.52-.5365, F.S., is the state’s centralized process for licensing electrical transmission lines which;

  • are 230 kV or larger;
  • cross a county line; and,
  • are 15 miles or longer.

An applicant can request to use the act for a line less than 15 miles long or if within one county.

If a line is to be constructed entirely within certain rights-of-way, the Act may not apply, however this does not relieve the utility from the obligation to obtain the necessary individual permits and approvals.  This exemption is date-dependent if it is for a transmission line as defined in the Transmission Line Siting Act. If the right-of-way is for a transmission line, that transmission line right-of-way must have been created before October 1, 1983. If the right-of-way is for a road, railroad, gas, water, oil, sewage and such (but not a transmission line), the exemption applies regardless of the date created. See 403.524(2)(c), F.S.

The procedural rule is Ch. 62-17, Part II, F.A.C., [62-17.510 through 62-17.760]. An application guide is also available. All nonprocedural rules that would otherwise apply to such a facility will apply to a certified facility. See the Certified Facilities list for the lines that are certified under the Transmission Line Siting Act.

Similarities and Differences between Transmission Line and Power Plant Siting
The Transmission Line Siting Act is similar to the Power Plant Siting Act. Both require Siting Board (Governor & Cabinet) certification and that the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) act as lead agency as well as address its own jurisdictional interests. In both laws, certification covers other agency permits and life-of-the-facility certification. Both also provide opportunity for public involvement.

Most of the steps, and points when districts and divisions must participate, remain the same. The time provided for the transmission line siting certification process is shorter than the power plant siting certification process.

Two main differences between the Transmission Line Siting Act and the Power Plant Siting Act:

1. There is no Land Use and Zoning hearing for transmission line siting.

2. Parties to the TLSA proceeding can propose corridors alternate in location to the ones proposed by the applicant (the corridor is an area in which the right-of-way will be located). After review, alternate corridors may be the one (or a variation thereof) certified. See the TLSA flowchart.

Alternate Corridor Provision
The Alternate Corridor Provision provides affected persons the opportunity to address concerns about project location. Since transmission line corridors can be up to a mile wide and several hundred miles long, many alternates can be proposed and must be reviewed.

Because of this consideration, and because a corridor is initially what is proposed for certification, an exact right-of-way location can seldom be reviewed during the proceedings. Thus, the Post-certification Review is used extensively in the Transmission Line Siting Act following right-of-way selection. Most impacts under Post-certification Review concern line location in relation to wetlands.

Public Concerns
Corridor and right-of-way location raises more than wetlands issues. The public is frequently concerned about health and safety effects from electric and magnetic fields (EMF). DEP regulates Transmission Line EMF and the Siting Coordination Office which administers the program can answer questions about Florida's EMF regulations as they pertain to Transmission Lines.

Land ownership is also sometimes a concern. Utility companies typically offer to buy land necessary for a project at fair market value and an agreeable sale is negotiated. However, certification does empower the company with the right of eminent domain.

 


Quick Links

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Last updated: July 16, 2014

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