The Transmission Line Siting Act (TLSA), Sections 403.52-.5365, Florida Statutes (F.S.), is the state's centralized process for licensing electrical transmission lines that:
Are 230 kilovolts (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. See TLSA applicability flow chart for further clarification.
If a line is to be constructed entirely within certain rights-of-way, the TLSA 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 TLSA. See Section 403.524(2)(c), F.S.
The TLSA is similar to the Power Plant Siting Act. Both require Siting Board (Governor and Cabinet) certification and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) acts as lead agency as well as addresses its own jurisdictional interests. In both laws, certification covers all state and local permits and is for the life-of-the-facility. Public involvement opportunities are also provided in both laws.
Most of the steps, 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.
The two main differences between the TLSA and PPSA are:
There is no Land Use and Zoning hearing for transmission line siting certification.
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. (SeeTLSA certification process flowchart)
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 TLSA following right-of-way selection. Most impacts under post-certification review are concerned with line location in relation to wetlands. 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 regulationsas 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.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is the state’s lead agency for environmental management and stewardship – protecting our air, water and land. The vision of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection is to create strong community partnerships, safeguard Florida’s natural resources and enhance its ecosystems.