Organizational meeting, WWALS Water Quality Testing Committee 2018-08-21

After years of trying to get local or state governments to do it, WWALS is starting a water quality monitoring program.

The new Chair of the WWALS Water Quality Testing Committee, Bobby McKenzie, has called an organizational meeting. Anyone can attend, and anyone can send in reports. Please sign up for Water Reporter at waterreporter.org, and join the Suwannee Riverkeeper group.

Suwannee Riverkeeper group, Water Reporter

When: 5-7:45 PM Tuesday 21 August 2018

Where: Community Hall 2,
South Georgia Regional Library,
2906 Julia Dr, Valdosta, GA 31602
There will be dialin for remote committee members

Event: facebook, meetup

If you want to join the WWALS Water Quality Testing Committee, you must be a WWALS member and apply.

The meeting will be about Continue reading

135,000 gallons from Valdosta Mud Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant 2018-08-13

Valdosta spilled again, and again bigger than any recently from Albany or Tifton. This news was first seen on WALB TV out of Albany 5:10 PM last night. Valdosta sent email to WWALS at 10:17 PM.

Should Suwannee Riverkeeper have to watch WALB in Albany to learn first about a wastewater spill in Valdosta, the biggest city in the Suwannee River Basin?

More importantly, if “Spills of any nature are unacceptable,” why do you keep having them, Valdosta? Especially with only 1.5 inches of rain? What will you do in another tropical storm or hurricane? And how and when will we know?

WALB TV, TV

Krista Monk, WALB TV, 5:10 PM, 14 August 2018, City of Valdosta reports 135K gallon sewage spill, Continue reading

Lowndes County lift station pumps 2018-08-13

Once again the Lowndes County Commission considers replacing a lift station pump at Bevel Creek. The agenda sheet says:

The Bevel Creek lift station is a triplex lift station on our main trunk line that delivers over 60% of our wastewater flow to the LAS. This station is currently running on two pumps. We have a quote from AAG Inc. to repair the pump that is out of service for $13,971.04. Staff recommends the pump be repaired for $13,971.04.

Replacing that pump sounds like a good idea. LAS is Land Application Site, as in spray field, a few thousand feet from the GA-FL state line and slightly upstream from the Withlacoochee River. Lowndes County does not have a wastewater treatment plant, and nobody wants sewage leaking at Bevel Creek or at the LAS.

Lowndes County Utilities Director Steve Stalvey
Lowndes County Utilities Director Steve Stalvey, 8 May 2018.

I do wonder, though, why we’re needing to replace a pump at Bevel Creek again, after just replacing Continue reading

FERC rubberstamps four rehearing denials and a new pipeline on a Friday 2018-08-10

Scurrying to use its rubberstamp before a Commissioner departing leaves it tied 2:2, FERC once again rubberstamped multiple pipelines, this time three on a Friday plus an LNG export project, while neither its main online library nor its backup library yielded copies of the orders.

I found these four by googling:

  • 164 FERC ¶ 61,099 Florida Southeast Connection, LLC Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Company, Sabal Trail Transmission, Docket Nos. CP14-554-003, LLC CP15-16-004, LLC CP15-17-003, ORDER DENYING REHEARING, Issued August 10, 2018
  • 164 FERC ¶ 61,098, PennEast Pipeline Company, LLC, Docket No. CP15-558-001, ORDER ON REHEARING, August 10, 2018.
  • 164 FERC ¶ 61,100, Atlantic Coast Pipeline, LLC, Dominion Transmission, Inc., Atlantic Coast Pipeline, LLC, Piedmont Natural Gas Company, Inc., Docket Nos. CP15-554-002, CP15-555-001, CP15-556-001, Order on Rehearing, August 10 2018.
  • 164 FERC ¶ 61,102, Dominion Energy Cove Point LNG, LP, Docket No. CP17-15-001, ORDER DENYING REHEARING, August 10, 2018.

Oh, wait, a mention of a docket number in a FERC agenda leads me to one more Friday rubberstamp, of a new Transco pipeline in New Jersey:

FERC rubberstamp

  • 164 FERC ¶ 61,101, Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Company, LLC, Docket No. CP17-490-000, ORDER ISSUING CERTIFICATE, August 10, 2018.

Commissioner Cheryl A. LaFleur dissented from all five of these Orders, on Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) even noting FERC should have considered both it and the Mountain Valley Pipeline together for environmental aspects. Commissioner Richard Glick from all except the ACP one, in which he instead summed up what is going on. Richard Glick, FERC, August 10, 2018, Statement of Commissioner Richard Glick on Atlantic Coast Pipeline LLC, Docket Nos.: CP15-554-002; CP15-555-001; and CP15-556-001,

I chose not to participate in today’s order denying rehearing of the Commission’s October 13, 2017 order issuing a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) Project (CP15-554-002; CP15-555-001; and CP15-556-001) solely to enable those parties challenging the Certificate to have their day in court. If I had voted, the rehearing order would have failed on a 2-2 vote (Chairman McIntyre also is not participating in this proceeding), and pursuant to the requirements of section 19 of the Natural Gas, the appellate courts would not have had jurisdiction to review the Commission’s decision to grant the Certificate.

I share many of the concerns articulated in Commissioner LaFleur’s dissenting opinion and I do not believe that the ACP Project has been shown to be in the public interest. Accordingly, if I had voted today, I would have voted to grant rehearing. Further, I do not believe there would have been the opportunity to vote on this rehearing order after Commissioner Powelson departs leaving only three commissioners to participate in this proceeding for the foreseeable future.

This situation highlights the need for Congress to enact legislation amending the judicial review provisions of the Natural Gas Act and the Federal Power Act to account for the ability of an aggrieved party to seek redress in the courts of appeal. It is fundamentally unfair to deprive parties of an opportunity to pursue their claims in court, especially while pipeline construction is ongoing. Alternatively, the Commission could revise its practices so that a rehearing tolling order is withdrawn when the participating Commissioners are evenly divided on a rehearing order and there is no immediate prospect of a resolution. I have heard some suggest that action is unnecessary because the Commission rarely evenly splits on a matter. But, as today’s order demonstrates, a tie vote is certainly possible even when all five commissioner seats are filled.

Commissioner Glick did not vote on the ACP rehearing because he wants an appeal to be possible through the courts on FERC’s decision to grant a certificate. Apparently a 2:2 tie would prevent that, I’m guessing by keeping the ACP in a FERC rehearing. With Commissioner Robert F. Powelson leaving at the end of this month, 2:2 split votes are to be expected, since Commissioners LaFleur and Glick have been dissenting on just about everything since FERC lost Sierra Club v. FERC (Sabal Trail).

Yet these rehearing denials are not what has been in the news. This has: Lauren K. Ohnesorge, Triangle Business Journal, August 10, 2018, ‘Stop Work Order’ issued for Atlantic Coast Pipeline,

Days after a federal appeals court invalidated a pair of permits, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has issued a “Stop Work Order,” halting Dominion and Duke Energy’s Atlantic Coast Pipeline in its tracks.

In its order, FERC writes that, allowing continued construction in the meantime “poses the risk of expending substantial resources and substantially disturbing the environment by constructing facilities that ultimately might have to be relocated or abandoned.”

That sounds more like FERC being concerned for the pipeline company’s bottom line than anything else.

Somebody else carried the full FERC statement and quoted “the operative paragraph”. lowkell, Blue Virginia, August 10, 2018, BREAKING: Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Issues “Stop Work Order” on “All Portions” of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline [UPDATED: FERC Partially Approves MVP Stabilization Plan],

“Atlantic and Dominion Energy Transmission, Inc. (DETI) are hereby notified that construction activity along all portions of the ACP and Supply Header Project and in all work areas must cease immediately, with the exception of any measures deemed necessary by appropriate agencies such as NPS and the U.S. Forest Service, or by FERC staff to ensure the stabilization of the right-of-way and work areas.”

However, the rest of the FERC stop work letter says this is because there may be route changes. It gives no indication of actually wanting to stop eventual construction of the pipeline.

FERC’s intention to go ahead with ACP is further evidenced by FERC that same day rejecting a rehearing on ACP. In that rejection (and the other rehearing denials), FERC threw out any objections that did not cite specific EIS or previous Order passages. About Penneast, FERC even refused to consider complaints from two New Jersey state Senators and one Aseemblyman because they had not timely filed to intervene. Yet FERC itself continued to refuse to quantify or interpret greenhouse gas emissions, despite the court order in Sierra Club v. FERC.

The only rehearing requests FERC did not deny, reject, or dismiss as moot were:

(B) Atlantic’s November 14, 2017 request for rehearing is granted in part and denied in part, and we direct Atlantic to file actual tariff records setting forth its pro-rata allocation of pack capability provisions available to all firm transportation shippers and the applicable rate associated with the pack account service, at least 30 days but no more than 60 days prior to the date the project facilities go into service.

So FERC wants to know who ACP is getting its gas from when (not if, as far as FERC is concerned), ACP goes into service.

An industry story about FERC’s Stop Work Order a week earlier for the Mountain Valley Pipeline already arrived at the same conclusion. Nick Snow, Oil & Gas Journal, August 6, 2018, FERC’s Mountain Valley Pipeline stop-work order may be temporary,

The US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has issued a stop-work order for the proposed Mountain Valley interstate natural gas pipeline. Opponents immediately said the Aug. 3 action was a major setback for the planned 303-mile system from West Virginia to southern Virginia, but the project’s sponsors noted on Aug. 6 the order itself indicated that it could be temporary.

The wording of that MVP Order was very similar to the ACP Order:

“There is no reason to believe that the Forest Service or the Army Corps of Engineers, as the land-managing agencies, or the BLM, as the federal rights-of-way grantor, will not be able to comply with the court’s instructions and to ultimately issue new right-of-way grants that satisfy the court’s requirements,” FERC Energy Projects Office Director Terry L. Turpin said in the order.

“However, [FERC] staff cannot predict when these agencies may act or whether these agencies will ultimately approve the same route,” Turpin said. “Should the agencies authorize alternative routes, [Mountain Valley Pipeline LLC (MVP)] may need to revise substantial portions of the project route across nonfederal lands, possibly requiring further authorizations and environmental review.”

Courts seem generally limited to ruling on specific aspects of pipelines. Actually stopping the fracking industry’s last-ditch cash-out through many new pipelines may require changes in federal law or new FERC Commissioners actually willing to enforce existing laws, either of which probably require changes in Congress. It’s an election year. This is an issue.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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

Bob’s River Place variances 2018-08-14

The Bob’s River Place agenda item on the SRWMD agenda for August 14, 2018 turns out to be the latest in year-long series. Every time I’ve stopped by it’s been closed, so I have no dog in this fight. I’m merely presenting what I’ve dug up in a few minutes by following leads backwards. This agenda-and-minute trail is probably incomplete, but what I’ve found tells a tale about SRWMD granting permits, then receiving citizen complaints including about safety. After which it seems SRWMD discovered numerous structures and other features that had been operational for years, yet had not been permitted.

[Slip and slide ramp removed from permit application 2/5/2013 yet constructed 4/7/2017]
Slip and slide ramp removed from permit application 2/5/2013 yet constructed 4/7/2017
PDF

FAR 2018-01-17

Starting with the earliest mention I’ve found in this series and going forwards, Florida Administrative Register, Volume 44, Number 11, January 17, 2018, Continue reading

Packet, SRWMD Board, 2018-08-14

The many interesting items on the agenda for next Tuesday morning’s SRWMD board meeting in Live Oak, include a springs campaign discussion, water withdrawals, creek clearing in Bradford County, and the latest in a long-running series about Bob’s River Place in Dixie County.

When: 9AM Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Where: 9225 CR 49, Live Oak, FL 32060

See also the other post about Bob’s River Place.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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

Video: Jay Jourden singing Save Our Suwannee at SuwRK Songwriting Contest

Jay Jourden sang “Save Our Suwannee” and won a prize, at the First Annual Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest, Saturday, June 23, 2018, at the Salty Snapper, Valdosta, GA.

Jay Jourden
Jay Jourden (photo by Bret Wagenhorst)

If there’s any song other than Stephen Foster’s that anybody knows about the Suwannee, it’s usually this one, which is a call to action:

The water table’s going down, cricks are running dry….
They say we need more power, there’s more rain in the sky….

But where’s that water going, and who says it’s so..??..
Somebody’s got the answers that we’d all like to know..!!..

Here’s the video: Continue reading

Suwannee tributaries flooding 2018-08-07

Once again, as during Hurricane Irma, recent rains are causing flooding on Suwannee River tributaries.

Suwannee River Basin, Map

The Withlacoochee River at Skipper Bridge and at US 41 (North Valdosta Road) is in Near Flood Stage, as is the Suwannee River at Fargo, and the New River near Lake Butler.

Already in Minor Flooding are Continue reading

Dave Pharr singing Care For the Waters @ Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest 2018-06-23

David B. Pharr sang this Traditional Folk song, “Care For the Waters,” at the First Annual Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest, Saturday, June 23, 2018, at the Salty Snapper, Valdosta, GA.

David B. Pharr

As he sang about the Suwannee and the other rivers: “And you may cross my bridges, But you’ll never get over me.”

Here’s the video: Continue reading

Alapaha Quest, Rowetown to Willacoochee, Alapaha River, 2018-08-11

Bring a rope in case we need to drag the boats across deadfalls, and expect low-hanging branches, as we experience the wilderness from Rowetown Church Landing to Willacoochee Landing, on the Alapaha River Water Trail, continuing Alapaha Quest.

When: 8 AM, Saturday, August 11, 2018

Put In: Rowetown Church Landing, 1291 Rowetown Church Road, Alapaha, GA 31622, River bank on private road back of cemetery, we have permission.

Take Out: Willacoochee Landing, GA 135, Atkinson County side, 2.8 miles south of Willacoochee, GA, Atkinson County.

Bring: the usual personal flotation device, boat paddles, food, drinking water, warm clothes, and first aid kit, and don’t forget the rope. Also trash pickers and trash bags: every WWALS outing is also a cleanup.

600x450 Movie: Under branches (1.0M), in Alapaha deadfalls, by John S. Quarterman, for WWALS.net, 17 January 2015
Movie: Under branches (1.0M), in Alapaha deadfalls, by John S. Quarterman, for WWALS.net, 17 January 2015.

Free: This outing is free to WWALS members, and $10 (ten dollars) for non-members. We recommend you support the work of WWALS by becoming a WWALS member today!

Event: Continue reading