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Motion: Rick Scott’s financial ties to energy company should disqualify him from power plant vote

Florida Power & Light called the motion a 'cheap PR stunt.'

An environmental group filed a motion to block Gov. Rick Scott from weighing in on a South Florida power plant because of his financial ties to the company behind the project.

The "motion for disqualification" filed by the Sierra Club on Thursday says Scott's investments in NextEra Energy Partners is a conflict of interest and should prevent him from ruling on a proposed natural gas plant in Dania Beach. Scott owns as much as $500,000 in NextEra Energy Partners, according to his Senate financial disclosures.

NextEra Energy Partners is a company created by NextEra Energy, which is also the parent company of Florida Power & Light. Florida Power & Light is he company behind the proposed Dania Beach plant.

The motion also notes the company's campaign contributions to Scott.

As a state cabinet member, Scott is on the Power Plant Siting Board, which decides whether to certify large power plants.

"Such entanglements create a conflict of interest between Governor Scott's financial interests and the interests of Floridians, and preclude the Governor from voting on FPL's latest fossil fuel-burning power plant without 'bias, prejudice, or interest,' " the motion said.

A judge previously denied the Sierra Club's motion to block the power plant altogether.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is reviewing the motion, agency spokeswoman Lauren Engel said.

Florida Power & Light spokesman Chris McGrath called the motion a shameful and cheap PR stunt to deliberately deceive and confuse Floridians less than two weeks before the election."

McGrath said Florida Power & Light is not connected "financial or otherwise" to NextEra Energy Partners, the company that Scott is invested in. Therefor, Scott can't profit off the power plant.

"We can't understand why a group purported to care about the environment would be against our proposal to replace an aging power plant with a highly efficient clean energy center," McGrath said.

This story was updated with a comment from Florida Power & Light.