Category Archives: Law

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

Health costs of firefighting foams

It’s time for the state of Georgia and the U.S. Congress to set limits, and appropriate funds for testing and remedial actions, as the evidence and lawsuits pile up about those firefighting chemicals spilled from Moody AFB and many other places.

What is the price of fire safety? As lawsuits pile up and government pressure rises, firefighting-foam makers reconsider the environmental cost of fluorosurfactants, by Marc S. Reisch, Chemical and Engineering News (c&en), JANUARY 14, 2019 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 97, ISSUE

Photo: Large Atmospheric Storage Tank Fires project; Firefighters spray fluorine-free foam on a hydrocarbon test fire at Dallas Fort Worth Airport.
Photo: Large Atmospheric Storage Tank Fires project
Firefighters spray fluorine-free foam on a hydrocarbon test fire at Dallas Fort Worth Airport.

Testifying to Congress in September 2018 before it passed the legislation allowing civilian airports to use fluorine-free foams, Timothy Putnam, a 24-year civilian firefighter for the navy, said he recalled using fluorine-containing foam—in the days before scientists raised safety flags—“as a substitute for vehicle soap to wash fire department vehicles. We also used [it] to clean the fire station floors.”

Now, Putnam said, he is worried about “human impacts” of the exposure. And he didn’t accept the argument that Continue reading

Anyone who understands fracking opposes it 2015-05-12

This popular meme has lacked any indication of who wrote those words. Words that are relevant right now, when we need you all to support Florida SB 314 to ban fracking.

Now with authors, Meme

Here are the authors of those words: Jim Tatum and Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson, Pensacola News-Journal, online 11 May 2015, on paper the next day, Anyone who understands fracking opposes it,

Anyone who understands fracking is opposed to it. If they understand it but still support it, then they must be gaining profit from it. There is no “gray area” with fracking. There is nothing good about it. There is no such thing as safe fracking.

Rotated, Op-Ed

Millions of gallons are used for each and every frack, polluted Continue reading

Florida Waterkeepers at PIEC 25 in Gainesville, FL 2019-02-08

Matanzas Riverkeeper Jen Lomberk, St. Johns Riverkeeper Lisa Rinaman, Miami Waterkeeper Staff Attorney Kelly Cox presented a panel on Keeping Watch Over Our Waters: Florida’s Riverkeepers, on the agenda for PIEC 25.

[Miami Waterkeeper attorney Kelly Cox]
Miami Waterkeeper attorney Kelly Cox

Also in the room were Continue reading

Waterkeepers Florida in Gainesville, FL 2019-02-08-09

Update 2019-02-09: Pictures.

All the Waterkeepers of Florida are gathered today and tomorrow at the 25th Annual Public Interest Environmental Conference (PIEC) at the University of Florida in Gainesville.

PIEC 25 banner

On the agenda in the afternoon 2PM session today:

Keeping Watch Over Our Waters: Florida’s Riverkeepers Location: MLAC Courtroom Continue reading

Riverkeepers seek attorney’s fees for legal victory against FERC and Sabal Trail 2019-02-04

Some good news! Not only did Flint Riverkeeper, Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, and Sierra Club win a historic landmark victory against Sabal Trail and FERC in August 2017, affecting all FERC pipeline and LNG export dockets ongoing: the Riverkeepers are entitled to attorneys fees!

Application and Argument, Letter

Despite FERC’s attempt to weasel out by trying to claim that case was not and “adversary adjudication.”, the Riverkeepers seek recovery of attorney’s fees in the amount of $192,437.42.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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

The Riverkeepers letter

Filed with FERC 4 February 2019 as Continue reading

John S. Quarterman: Sewage spills in Georgia affecting Suwannee River basin, Gainesville Sun, 2019-01-31

Online today and in the paper Gainesville Sun this coming Sunday. To paddle the most-affected stretch of the Withlacoochee River, join us this Saturday morning.


A December upsurge of raw sewage spills from the city of Valdosta, Georgia, has a dozen downstream counties organized into a task force, demanding action from Florida state legislators. But what action?

I recommend first getting a grip on the extent of the problem, keeping that picture up to date and then funding fixes.

[Water]
Photo: John S. Quarterman of Sara Jay, Water Temperature, TGroupville Boat Ramp, Little River, 2019-01-06

Valdosta spilled not just twice, but two dozen times in December, totaling more than 6 million gallons of raw sewage. Spills also happened in Tifton, Quitman and Lowndes County, Georgia.

We know this because Continue reading

Wastewater at Valdosta City Council, Winter 2018-2019

While the Rivers Task Force of the dozen downstream Florida counties is looking for something to do to help, Valdosta clearly hasn’t yet done enough to stop its sewage spills, but they are doing more. Here’s some context that may indicate what might help. Spoiler: water quality monitoring, funding for further fixes, and enforcement if necessary. Unless raw sewage spills really are what Valdosta wants to be known for in Tallahassee and Atlanta.

Totals, Table
See Valdosta December 2018 sewage and Hamilton County, FL legislative delegation 2019-01-16″>

Also: come on up and talk to the Valdosta City Council. Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson did, and it got their attention. They keep hearing from me for years now, and it helps to see somebody directly affected downstream come up and speak.

This post is mostly about two Valdosta City Council meetings, that included much discussion of the recent Valdosta wastewater spills, on on Continue reading

Testing for firefighting chemicals in wells and waterways 2019-01-18

Those firefighting chemicals that leaked from Moody Air Force Base are on the front page of the Valdosta Daily Times today:

Moody recommends private well owners contact their county representatives for information on testing personal wells.

Paige Dukes, Lowndes County clerk and public information officer, said this is an opportunity for county residents such as Tann to have their water tested. Not only for PFAS but for any other contaminants that might be there.

Indeed, and Lowndes County operates the Moody AFB wastewater treatment plant that spilled into Beatty Branch and Cat Creek. So it’s an opportunity for Lowndes County to help organize testing for these per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFASs), because testing for them isn’t nearly as simple or inexpensive as testing for other contaminants.

Reporter and photographer at Beatty Branch, 2019-01-07, VDT
Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman, nearby resident Debra Tann, VDT reporter Thomas Lynn and photographer Derrek Vaughn, at Beatty Branch, January 7, 2019. Photo: John S. Quarterman for WWALS.

Debra Tann and I were back at Beatty Branch on January 7, 2019, this time with the VDT, about the firefighting chemical issue that was in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution the first week of January. This time it was for local reporters. Moody neighbor wants water tested, Continue reading

Marion County Comprehensive Plan to reject Coastal Connector? 2019-01-15

Maybe you’d like to show up 2PM tomorrow, Tuesday, January 15, 2019, and encourage the Marion County, FL, BOCC to adopt into the county’s Comprehensive Plan a Resolution they passed June 5, 2018, which would help head off future road boondoggles. The resolution opposes any Coastal Connector highway routes through Marion County.

[DRAFT Areas of Opportunity, 4/6/2016]
DRAFT Areas of Opportunity, 4/6/2016

When: 2PM, Tuesday, January 14, 2019

Where: McPherson Governmental Complex,
601 SE 25th Ave., Ocala, FL 34471

What: Item 14.B.4. on the agenda is adopting the resolution into the county’s Comprehensive Plan.

Event: facebook

As juries recently decided about easement for the Sabal Trail fracked methane pipeline (which Marion County also opposed), “full compensation” is not the same as “just compensation” for road rights of way, either:

J. It must be recognized that the issue is not simply the payment of “full compensation” to owners of the most valuable equine and agricultural properties in Marion County. Rather, it must be recognized that as a result of any of these corridors, the required right-of-way acquisitions and resulting construction of the proposed facility will not only damage, but may destroy many of these important operations in Marion County, and consequently, negatively impact the economic vitality and long-range growth of Marion County; and

Gouging pipelines or highways through farm or horse land or under rivers destroys what they traverse. No amount of compensation would be sufficient.

If you’re nearby, this would be good opportunity to stand up for water, environment, and property rights.

Janet Barrow Letter

WWALS member Janet Barrow sent them this letter. EAR is Continue reading