Category Archives: Law

Naylor Boat Ramp poured 2019-04-30

Update 2019-05-08: Now with framing and concrete wire.

Update 2019-05-06: OK, as April Huntley pointed out after went out there over the weekend, the concrete is not poured yet: what’s out there is the bed on which to put the concrete. I called Lowndes County Project Manager Chad McLeod, who said that’s right. Today the forms for the concrete are in place. Probably Wednesday they will pour the concrete. Then it has to set for 10-14 days. After that, they will pick a day with an appropriate river level (they need a couple of feet of water in the river), and they will slide the segments down the ramp into the river. So probably somewhere between 18 and 25 May 2019 the concrete ramp should be in the river.

Some of the concrete was still setting on the new Naylor Boat Ramp on the Alapaha River just upstream from US 84.

[From the top]
From the top

Lowndes County Commissioner Joyce Evans asked Gretchen Quarterman at the Monday Planning Commission meeting whether she had been to the new Naylor Boat Ramp. Continue reading

Veto Roads to Ruin toll expressway bill –90 Florida organizations to Governor DeSantis 2019-05-01

Update 2019-05-02: Please remember to send your letter to FL Gov. DeSantis.

SB 7068 passed today, 76 to 36. Please call or write Florida Governor DeSantis.

Sierra Club has already published a call urging Gov. DeSantis to veto this “Roads to Ruin” toll expressway bill. WWALS is a signatory, among the six Florida Waterkeepers signed on, with 90 total organizations.

Why is Florida even considering building more toll roads while the Panhandle’s homes, businesses, and agriculture are still in ruins after Hurricane Michael?

PORT ST. JOE RESIDENT FOR PHILLYVOICE, The destruction of Hurricane Michael on Florida's Mexico Beach.
Photo: PORT ST. JOE RESIDENT FOR PHILLYVOICE, The destruction of Hurricane Michael on Florida’s Mexico Beach.

As the letter to Gov. DeSantis says: “Providing safe shelters for evacuees is a more practical and affordable response to extreme weather events than new toll expressways.”

For Immediate Release
May 1, 2019

Contact: Frank Jackalone, frank.jackalone@sierraclub.org, 727-824-8813, x302; 727-804-1317
Paul Owens, powens@1000fof.org, 850-222-6277 x102, 407-222-2301

STATEWIDE ALLIANCE URGES GOVERNOR DESANTIS TO VETO “ROADS TO RUIN” TOLL EXPRESSWAY BILL
Florida taxpayers, rural communities, the Everglades, and water quality are at risk

Tallahassee —Today 90 conservation organizations, civic groups, and businesses representing the Panhandle to the Keys sent a letter to Governor Ron DeSantis urging him to veto the Transportation Corridor bill, SB 7068, when it arrives on his desk.

The letter to the Governor follows similar letters sent to the Senate and House last week and will test the Governor’s post-inaugural declarations of dedication to protecting the Everglades, the springs, and the state’s water quality.

The letter:

Continue reading

WCTV on AGL pipeline Homerville coffee shop explosion and proposed GA-PSC fines 2019-04-04

How about some accountability for regulations already in place, starting with legally-required corporate policies and procedures?

Emma Wheeler, WCTV Eyewitness News, State: Gas company failures led up to Homerville explosion,

[Empty lot]
WCTV’s Emma Wheeler reporting from the empty lot where Coffee Corner used to be in Homverville, GA

The Public Service Commission is proposing a civil penalty of $2.3 million against Atlanta Gas Light for the violations.

[GA-PSC says AGL did not shut off the gas]
GA-PSC says AGL did not shut off the gas

Suwannee Riverkeeper John Quarterman lives near the start of the pipeline. He said he was horrified by the report, and fears that this could happen anywhere along its path.

[

Continue reading

75 organizations oppose proposed Florida toll roads: HB 7113/SB 7068 2019-04-25

Floridians, please call your Florida statehouse representative today. SB 7068 passed the Florida Senate already, so we all need to head off HB 7113 in the Florida House.

For Immediate Release (PDF)

April 25, 2019

Contact: David Cullen, cullenasea@aol.com, 941-323-2404
Diana Umpierre, diana.umpierre@sierraclub.org, 954-829-7632
John S. Quarterman, contact@suwanneeriverkeeper.org, 850-290-2350

75 ORGANIZATIONS, BUSINESSES URGE HOUSE TO STOP TOLL ROADS
Transportation Corridors bills are bad deal for Florida taxpayers


Legislature’s planned road project could benefit Florida’s richest man, by Julie Hauserman, Florida Phoenix,March 21, 2019.

Tallahassee — Today 75 conservation organizations, civic groups, and businesses representing every corner of the state sent a letter to the Florida House of Representatives urging a no vote on the Transportation Corridor bills (SB 7068/HB 7113).

The letter to the House follows a similar letter sent to the Senate on Monday and will be followed by a separate letter to Governor DeSantis urging a veto of the toll road plan if the House does not put the brakes on the legislation passed by the Senate on Wednesday.

The letter: Continue reading

Valdosta Water Quality Testing Data 2019-04-23

Fecal coliform in Onemile Branch was way above the Georgia state limit of 200, in Valdosta’s followup water quality monitoring after their spill of more than 100,000 gallons of raw sewage at Wainwright Drive, just downstream from Valdosta State University.

[2018-02-03 Wainwright Drive Onemile Branch]
2018-02-03 Wainwright Drive Onemile Branch

We know this because, in response to a Georgia Open Records Act request from WWALS, Alys Hannum of GA-EPD sent this data, on Tuesday, April 23, 2019. She wrote: 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

AGL could face millions for blast 2019-04-03

On the front page of the newspaper of record in the biggest city in the Suwannee River Basin, yesterday in the Valdosta Daily Times, is a story by Terry Richards about the GA-PSC report on the AGL pipeline and the August 2018 Homerville, GA explosion that destroyed a coffeeshop and sent three women to the hospital with third-degree burns.

[Front Page]

The VDT did a bit of reporting by contacting AGL and its contractor: Continue reading

Florida Water Conservation Month and Waterkeepers Florida 2019-04-02

Yesterday, the Chair of Waterkeepers Florida received a resolution sponsored by Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nicole “Nikki” Fried and “signed by Governor DeSantis and the full Cabinet, recognizing the month of April as Water Conservation Month in Florida.” This is a good thing, but we should keep our eyes open about Florida’s current cabinet.

[WKA FL Chair, Governor, Cabinet]
Left to right: Lisa Rinaman for WKA FL, unknown, Gov. Ron DeSantis, FDEP Secretary Noah Valenstein, Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, unknown, Attorney General Ashley Moody, and Chief Financial Office Jimmy Patronis.

Commissioner Fried presented the resolution to Lisa Rinaman, the St. Johns Riverkeeper and Chair of Waterkeepers Florida. Read the resolution declaring April as Water Conservation Month here.

“On behalf of Waterkeepers Florida, we thank Commissioner Fried, Governor DeSantis and the Florida Cabinet for designating April as Water Conservation Month. Water conservation is critical to the work we do to protect and restore Florida’s waters. We applaud this resolution and the Cabinet’s commitment to conserving Florida’s waters and the opportunity to partner with our leaders to protect our waters for future generations,” said Lisa Rinaman, St. Johns Riverkeeper.

On St. Johns Riverkeeper’s facebook page, yesterday: Continue reading

Georgia legislature passed a firefighting foam regulation bill 2019-03-28

Both houses of the Georgia General Assembly have passed a bill to regulate PFAS fluorinated firefighting chemicals, such as spilled at Moody Air Force Base and the other two Georgia AF bases. If the governor signs it, this bill will become law.

Passed both House and Senate, HB 458

The bill is rather limited in scope, basically only Continue reading

GA-PSC report on AGL pipeline and Homerville August 2017 2018 explosion 2019-03-29

Update 2019-04-04: Actually the gas did go through a sewer pipe; AGL didn’t locate or mark that pipe, either. And the GA-PSC report was on the front page yesterday of the newspaper of the largest city in the Suwannee River Basin.

Maybe the gas didn’t go up a sewer pipe to the coffee shop after all. And in its long-awaited report, Pipeline Safety at the Georgia Public Service Commission is not letting AGL hand the blame to its contractors. This recommended fine does not look like the previous slap on the wrist.

[Filed]

GA-PSC says AGL failed to locate and mark its pipeline in use and failed to locate “their abandoned natural gas facility at 107 Courtland Ave.,” which is the address of the Coffee Corner which blew up in August 2017 2018 and sent three women to the hospital with third-degree burns.

The report gets worse:

PROBABLE VIOLATION: AGLC failed to consider the use of a valve to stop the flow of gas, or to check the surrounding buildings and confined areas, during the response to this incident, as required by their procedures.

But those are just in the first two items, which only got a $15,000 recommended fine each. The same $15,000 level of fine is recommended for AGL’s failures to test its personnel for drug or alcohol after the incident.

The big item, with a $2,245,000 fine, is for AGL failing Continue reading