Category Archives: Coal

WCTV on mining proposed near Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge 2019-08-21

“Because of the coal plants in Georgia, there’s mercury deposition on the surface of the ground for years. If they go stir all that up, that could run in to the swamp,” said Suwannee Riverkeeper John Quarterman. “Why should we risk the Okefenokee, its boating, its fishing, its birding.”

Quoted by a reporter based in Valdosta, GA for WCTV in Tallahassee, FL, Emma Wheeler, WCTV, 21 August 2019, Heavy mining facility proposed near Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge,

[Sign]
Photo: John S. Quarterman, Okefenokee NWR Entrance Sign, 2019-07-18

…Last week the Charlton County Board of Commissioners passed a resolution of support for the project. County officials said the reason is because Charlton County does not have many industry opportunities of its own, and many residents leave to surrounding counties for work. officials said the 150 jobs created from the project could be beneficial to the county.

The Okefenokee Swamp is the headwater for the Suwannee River, which is why community members across the region are fighting the proposal, saying it could have consequences in both states.

In the proposal, the Continue reading

Georgia PSC again increases solar power by Georgia Power 2019-07-16

The PSC required more than Georgia Power and Southern Company requested, although they still do not seem to understand that solar power is growing exponentially like compound interest.

[Vote]
See Stephen Fowler, GPB, July 16, 2019, Public Service Commission Adds More Solar To Georgia Power’s Energy Plan.

In 2013 Georgia only had some nominal solar energy online, less than 300 megawatts. In the 2013 IRP, the Commission added 525 megawatts of solar energy. Three years later, in the 2016 IRP, another 1,600 megawatts were added. By the end of 2019, Georgia should have a total of 2,400 megawatts of solar and other renewable energy on the grid. The 2,210 megawatts approved Tuesday will nearly double Georgia’s level of renewable energy by the end of 2022.

Doubling every two years is merely not falling farther behind. And what about after 2022? What’s the plan for more than doubling again by 2024, etc.? WWALS asked for Continue reading

Titanium mine near Okefenokee NWR 2019-07-12

Update 2019-07-18: The complete application is now on the WWALS website; you can comment now.

Friday, July 12, 2019, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers published a Public Notice for Application SAS-2018-00554 for a titanium mine southeast of the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge (NWR). Thursday I attended a meeting at the Okefenokee NWR near Folkston about that, and I met with agents of the miners back in April. The application is about the little purple area on this map they showed us at the end of April:

[Context]
Context

But that’s not the whole story; see below. Today this mine proposal is on the agenda for the WWALS board meeting.

Here are some things the application doesn’t tell you: Continue reading

Renewable solar and wind power now, not coal, gas, or nuclear –WWALS to GA PSC 2019-06-10

Drawing from eight years of speaking at Southern Company Stockholder meetings, and from that Homerville, Georgia explosion that destroyed Coffee Corner and sent three women to the hospital with third-degree burns, here’s a summary of the comments we filed with the Georgia Public Service Commission today. If you can’t go to the GA-PSC hearings tomorrow and the next day about the Georgia Power Integrated Resource Plan, you can also send a comment letter asking the PSC to stop Georgia Power locking in fossil fuels and make them get on with sun and wind pwoer on a smart grid.

[AGL fines, more solar, coal ash disposal, and mercury]

  1. Yes, fine AGL more than $2 million for that Homerville, GA explosion.
  2. Require Georgia power to buy 12 gigawatts (GW) of solar power, not 1 GW.
  3. Make Georgia Power pay to dispose of the coal ash it produced, properly on its own property.
  4. How about make the companies that put mercury in the air to come down in our rivers pay for the costs to recreational fishing.
  5. Stop throwing money down the Plant Vogtle nuclear hole.
  6. Demand Georgia Power get on with wind power.

This about sums it up: Continue reading

Georgia Water Coalition Spring Partner Meeting 2019-04-24

Naturally, what happened in the Georgia legislature is the most prevalent topic at the Georgia Water Coalition (GWC) Spring Partner Meeting, such as about coal ash and trust funds. I provoked extended discussion of the value of Capitol Conservation Day: even if it’s hard to get to see a legislator when that many people are there, the mere fact that so many people are there affected legislation.

There are also breakout sessions on the Georgia Triennial Review of Water Quality Standards. (You can sign up to help upgrade our Suwannee River Basins.) All the Riverkeepers of Georgia are involved, and Water Trails are very relevant.

Speaking: Rena Peck Stricker, E.D., Georgia River Network, Attendees
Speaking: Rena Peck Stricker, E.D., Georgia River Network
WWALS Ambassador Dave Hetzel is second row from the back, second from the right.
My Georgia Beer Co. hat is on the left (have I mentioned they are the top-level sponsor of our Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest and a sponsor of our BIG Little River Paddle Race)), two rows in front of Gordon Rogers’ Save the Flint shirt.

After Continue reading

FDEP summoned to Baker County about EZBase coal ash byproduct 2019-04-16

JEA “specifically declined the invitation” by the Baker BOCC to come talk about EZBase, a road pavement material made from coal ash, and spread on roads and parking lots in Baker County, Florida. FDEP accepted an invitation and will present this Tuesday. The Baker (FL) BOCC and Mark Lyon invite everyone to that meeting.

When: Meeting starts 5PM, FDEP presentation about 6PM,
Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Where: Baker County Courthouse, 339 E Macclenny Ave # 113, Macclenny, FL 32063

Event: facebook, meetup

Photo: Michael Rivera, of Baker County, Florida, Courthouse. CC Attribution, Share Alike
Photo: Michael Rivera, of Baker County, Florida, Courthouse. CCAttributionShare Alike

Most of Baker County, including its county seat Macclenny, is in the St Marys River watershed. However, south along FL 121 before the Union County line on the way to Fort Butler, part of Baker County is in the Suwannee River Basin, and we don’t know whether EZBase may have been spread on roads there.

Plus JEA shipped coal ash from Jacksonville to the Veolia Pecan Row landfill in Lowndes County, Georgia, which is in the Suwannee River Basin, a quarter mile uphill from the Withlacoochee River and in a Floridan Aquifer recharge zone.

While environmentalists everywhere are celebrating North Carolina DEQ’s Order for Duke Energy to Excavate Coal Ash at Six Remaining Sites, let’s remember the decision for each of those six sites was “Movement of coal ash to a new or existing lined landfill”. We don’t want Duke or JEA or other coal ash in our landfills or “recycled” as EZBase and spread on roads. The utilities that created the coal ash should have to bear the expense of disposing of it safely on their own land.

JEA also owns Continue reading

Urge your Georgia state legislators to stop coal ash pollution: HB 93, 94 and SB 123

Crossover day is this Thursday, by which bills have to pass one part of the Georgia legislature to be considered in the other. Please contact your state legislators today to stop coal ash pollution!

Coal ash from the infamous Kingston, Tennessee coal ash pond dam break in 2008 was shipped to at least five landfills in south Georgia, including the old landfill in Lowndes County, which is in an aquifer recharge zone and a quarter mile uphill from the Withlacoochee River. That landfill also has coal ash from Jacksonville, Florida. We don’t need any more coal ash in any landfills in Georgia. The power companies that produced it need to store it safely on their own land.

TVA aerial image of Kingston Ash Slide 2008-12-23
TVA aerial image of Kingston Ash Slide 2008-12-23.

Please call your Georgia state legislators today, to support:

Picture and bills: Capitol Conservation Day 2019-02-20

Wednesday I joined conservation groups from across Georgia to lobby the state legislature, in Capitol Conservation Day 2019, helping move along some bills.

[CCD]
CCD on the Georgia Capitol Steps 2019-02-20
Photo: Erik Voss for Georgia Water Coalition
This photograph can be freely shared, without limitations.

I’m in the hat on the right. Most of the other eight Riverkeepers of Georgia are also in this picture.

At the Bird Supper the previous Wednesday, I discussed two of the same topics and their bills with legislators: trust funds and coal ash.

Stop fee diversions

Jay Powell’s Trust Fund bill passed the Georgia House this same Wednesday, by Continue reading

Coal Ash, Trust Funds, and Water Quality Testing at Lowndes County Bird Supper in Atlanta 2019-02-13

Last night Georgia legislators from all over the state, including numerous committee chairs, feasted on quail supplied by Lowndes County and Valdosta in the annual Bird Supper, a six-decade tradition of local lobbying in the Georgia state capitol.

Packed house, Inside

I thanked Jeff Jones (District 167) for his new coal ash bills, and reminded other legislators to vote for them this year, like they did his earlier ones last year: Continue reading

FDEP now maps last 30 days of spills

Pollution spill maps online, up to date, with interactive links to details: Florida is doing it, and so can Georgia.

Florida, Maps

For more than a year FDEP has been posting spill reports online in a spreadsheet the same day it gets them, with email notice signup (Alabama also does that). FDEP has added a Public Notice of Pollution (PNP) Finder: Last 30 Days, which helps a lot in finding spills in our watersheds.

Did you know there was a Phosphoric Acid spill at White Springs last week, on Continue reading