Stop Coal Ash Pollution in Georgia

Please contact your Georgia state legislators to ask them to back two bills that will help keep coal ash off our lands and out of our waters.

Mercury from Coal Plant Scherer north of Macon goes up in the air and comes down in our Alapaha River. Coal ash from Tennessee and Florida is in the landfill in Lowndes County, Georgia that is a quarter mile uphill from the Withlacoochee River. Even the landfill owner doesn’t want any more coal ash, because it costs extra to keep it separate from other waste to prevent chemical reactions.

Stop Coal Waste in Georgia

Here’s an easy way to send email to your Georgia statehouse Representative and Senator.

There’s more about the bills below. Continue reading

Committee meeting: Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest 2018-02-19

Remember, Stephen C. Foster never saw the Suwannee River before he made it famous in his song. So at its meeting last week, the Songwriting Committee decided to have two categories: submissions from within the Suwannee River Basin, and submissions from anywhere else in the world.

Come on down to the Crossroads Sunday afternoon and help us decide more about the First Annual Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest:

When: 1PM Sunday, February 18, 2018

Where: Crossroads Market & Grill, Inc., 5463 State Rd 6 West, Jasper, FL 32052

What: WWALS Songwriting Committee meeting to plan the Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest. You do not have to be a Committee member to come to the meeting, but if you want to be on the internal forums where decisions are also made, you can apply to join the Committee.

Event: facebook, meetup

Ray Charles, Swanee River Rock

The Story So Far

Decisions and discussions so far include: Continue reading

Hagan Bridge, Franklinville, Withlacoochee River 2018-02-11

Two new fallers, an unscheduled creek upstream and confluences of several more downstream, the Withlacoochee River Roundabout, (some around it twice), a nice drizzle, and a fine time was had by 19 paddlers from 2 years old to 70-plus on the balmy winter Withlacoochee River, Sunday, February 11, 2018.

paddlers and banners

I am worried, though, since Continue reading

FERC inadvertently clears path for renewable energy via storage 2018-02-15

FERC just let slip the wolves of sun and wind by enabling the storage that those sunny twenty-first-century “aggregated distributed energy resources” (DER) will use to blow down the straw houses of traditional twentieth-century so-called baseload capacity coal, oil, and nuclear power plants.

FERC Commissioner Robert F. Powelson called out the “participation model” Thursday’s twin orders enable, bypassing many traditional charges by accounting for physical characteristics that do not change over time, recognizing that batteries, sun, and wind power are basically different from old-style dinosaur power plants. Commissioner Neil Chatterjee named Senators Ed Markey and Sheldon Whitehouse as proponents of these new rules, which is very interesting since both have long been proponents of renewable energy, and Sen. Whitehouse called out FERC for failing to implement the DC Circuit Court’s Order on greenhouse gases. Commissioner Cheryl A. LaFleur said “Electric storage is like a ‘Swiss army knife’”. Maybe more like the South Australian storage utility player that has already out-responded natural gas during coal plant outages. Commissioner Richard Glick says sun and wind power “no less than energy storage, have the potential to play a leading role in the electric grid of the future”. None of the Commissioners could bring themselves to say what they all know: sun, wind, water power with storage will be the electric grid of the future. Former FERC Chair Jon Wellinghoff and I were right in 2013: solar power will provide more U.S. electricity than any other source by 2023, on the way to complete conversion of everything to sun, wind, water, and storage by 2050.

Frequency response of Tesla South Australian battery
Giles Parkinson, Reneweconomy, 23 January 2018, Tesla big battery moves from show-boating to money-making.

Gavin Bade, UtilityDive, Feb. 15, 2018, FERC issues storage, reliability orders, calls conference on aggregated DERs, Continue reading

Sabal Trail troubled that the experts were right

“Without the certificate,
they cannot operate.”
—John S. Quarterman
of WWALS

Protesters turned out in St. Pete last year, and now a reporter from Tampa posts an update on double-sad news for Sabal Trail (I’ve added links).

Carmella Guiol, Kate Bradshaw, Creative Loafing Tampa Bay, 15 Feb 2018, The experts were right: Troubles for the Sabal Trail pipeline: They warned us — correctly — about the pipeline’s dangers to the environment. ,

For years, environmentalists warned against constructing the Sabal Trail pipeline. Yet construction wore on, and the controversial natural gas conduit is functional — for now.

Photo: Terrence Smith. : TOLD YA SO: In St. Petersburg, protesters railed against the controversial project in 2017.
Photo: Terrence Smith. TOLD YA SO: In St. Petersburg, protesters railed against the controversial project in 2017.

The 515-mile pipeline snakes from Alabama to central Florida, and when it’s running, it brings natural gas (mined using the process of fracking) to power plants in the Sunshine State, where it generates energy that power companies sell to customers. The $3.5 billion project is a joint venture between Enbridge, NextEra Energy and Duke Energy Corporation, which make up the group Sabal Trail LLC.

The Sierra Club sued over that last one, but despite Continue reading

HR 158 against state fee diversions passed 166:1 in GA House 2018-02-14

Yesterday’s Valentine’s Day present from the Georgia House was passing HR 158 with 166 yea and only 1 nay (6 not voting, and 7 excused). Except for district 175, which just finished a Special Election, every Georgia House member from the Suwannee River Basin voted yea. Thank you, Patty Bentley, John Corbett, Buddy Harden, Penny Houston, Dominic LaRiccia, Clay Pirkle, Jay Powell, Ed Rynders, Dexter Sharper, Jason Shaw, Jason Spencer, and Sam Watson!

Yea 166 Nay 1, Tally

Onwards to the Georgia Senate. We look forward to every Georgia State Senator from the Suwannee River Basin voting yea. WWALS members and others may want to give them a ring to remind them to do so. Senators Ellis Black (District 8) and Tyler Harper (District 7) please note that local governments in your districts have passed resolutions supporting HR 158.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

You can join this fun and work by becoming a WWALS member today!

Hahira passed resolution supporting Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail 2018-02-01

Many thanks to the Hahira Mayor and Council for passing a resolution in support of the water trail for the rivers that run less than six miles west (the Little River) and east (the Withlacoochee River) of the Hahira Courthouse where they met.

Clear view, City Council
Left to right: Council Patrick Warren (District 3) Mayor Pro Tem Kenneth Davis (District 2), Mayor Bruce Cain, Empty Chair for City Attorney Rob Plumb, City Manager Jonathan Sumner, Council Terry Benjamin (District 1), Council Mason Barfield (District 4), City Clerk Lisa Mashburn.

I spoke briefly at their Work Session, Tuesday, January 30, 2018, outlining the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail (WLRWT) and the resolution, and I invited them to upcoming WWALS outings. Several of the Council had positive comments.

Council Patrick Warren also mentioned his fear of Continue reading

Yes, we’re paddling from Hagen Bridge on the Withlacoochee River 2018-02-10-11

Overcast and a small chance of drizzle won’t stop us: yes, we’re paddling from Hagan Bridge to Franklinville on the Withlacoochee River, 10 AM Sunday, February 11, 2018. Follow the link for details.

Movie: Which way to go? (16M)
Pictures by Gretchen Quarterman for WWALS, between Hagan Bridge and Franklinville, Withlacoochee River 2013-04-20.

More: For more outings and events as they are posted, see the WWALS calendar.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

You can join this fun and work by becoming a WWALS member today!

It’s a Go for this weekend’s outings 2018-02-10-11

Update 2018-02-10: And it’s a go for Hagan Bridge on the Withlacoochee Sunday morning!

Definitely for today’s Five Holes Cleanup at the Suwannee River, and probably for tomorrow’s Hagan Bridge Withlacoochee River paddle (stay tuned for final word on that one).

5 Holes Clean Up at the Suwannee River
Outings Chair Phil Hubbard says: “We are a GO for the clean up at 5 Holes for this afternoon at 3 PM.”
Five Holes is also known as Seven Sisters Spring; see also Pictures by Alan Cressler from 2008.

Movie: Its cold! in Five Holes (23M)
Pictures by John S. Quarterman for WWALS at Five Holes, Suwannee River, 2015-08-15.

Withlacoochee River Paddle from Hagan Bridge to Franklinville Road
Phil says: “Like wise, as of the 8 AM forecast we should be a GO for the paddle outing tomorrow with a 25% chance that of now appears to be decreasing during the midday and increasing after sunset. However we shall revisit this one again this afternoon before making a final decision.”
More good news: Continue reading

No coal ash in our rivers or landfills: GA Coal Ash bills introduced 2018-02-08

For property rights and clean water, you don’t want coal ash seeping through groundwater, so please contact your state legislator to support the two coal ash bills now in the Georgia House of Representatives:

HB 879, “Water resources; notice to local governing authorities prior to the dewatering of coal combustion residual surface impoundments; provide”
Georgia Power is retiring many coal plants (good, although they’re mmostly replacing them with natural gas plants; not so good), and this involves dewatering coal ash ponds near those plants;

HB 880, “Solid waste management; safe disposal of coal ash in municipal and commercial solid waste landfills; provisions”
Georgia Power wants to ship that coal ash to local landfills. Georgia Water Coalition’s policy on that I think is OK with appropriate regulation. WWALS goes beyond that and says no coal ash in landfills in the Suwannee River Basin.

coal plant and ash ponts

Please call or write: your Georgia state representative.
Thanks to the six bill sponsors, but none are in the Suwannee River Basin. Let’s see if we can fix that. Continue reading