Category Archives: Politics

Help stop two bad Florida water bills: HB 1149 and SB 1308

Remember the Florida bill with the bad amendment, withdrawn because you called? Well, the bill itself, HB 1149, is bad enough, and near to a vote.

Please sign Margaret Tolbert’s petition against that and another bad bill, HB 1308.

Saturday crowd at Madison Blue Spring,
Photo: John S. Quarterman for WWALS, from the Suwannee River, of Saturday crowd at Madison Blue Spring, 2017-06-24.

According to a March 1, 2018, Tampa Bay Times article:

“Cynthia Barnett, the author of three books on water and an environmental fellow in residence at the University of Florida’s Bob Graham Center for Public Service, said the bills are based on a faulty assumption concerning how much water Florida needs for its future growth.

The bills say that Florida will need Continue reading

Pipeline opposition rebuts wild-eyed Congressional distractions 2018-03-08

The headline would read better in this order: “Congressional Committee trolls energy policy.”

Suwannee Riverkeeper John Quarterman… said the science committee’s chairman, U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, was making “wild-eyed attempts to divert from the misdeeds of his patron, the fossil fuel industry.”

Steve Patterson,, 8 March 2018, Congress: Russians trolled Florida pipeline debate,

Efforts by Russian internet trolls to destabilize the U.S. energy industry reached all the way to Florida and the controversy over construction of the Sabal Trail gas pipeline, according to a Congressional report.

For my previous takedown of that report, see Fossil fuels are a far bigger threat than the Russians.

And if the Russians were behind me spotting from the air this frac-out of Sabal Trail drilling mud up into the Withlacoochee River in Georgia, they’re way behind in their payments.

Turbidity curtains and black pipe from the north bank
View from the south bank of Sabal Trail turbidity curtains and pipe from the north bank of the Withlacoochee River, about 2000 feet upstream from the US 84 bridge.
Photo: John S. Quarterman, October 22nd 2016.

Maybe I should send that Committee a bill Continue reading

Fossil fuels are a far bigger threat than the Russians

Leaks of hazardous materials, explosions, land takings, sinkholes, frac-outs: these are far bigger threats than Texas Rep. Lamar Smith’s Committee report “that states Russian agents were attempting to disrupt U.S. energy markets and using social media to purportedly stir up protests against pipelines such as Sabal Trail,” as a reporter asked me about recently. Smith’s report doesn’t mention that solar and wind power are growing far faster than his favorite, fracked methane gas.

Energy source growth by sector
Business Council for Sustainable Energy by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, February 2018, 2018 Sustainable Energy in America.

Elsewhere I already looked behind Lamar Smith’s fossil fuel smoke and mirrors, and found I post more on social media than the tiny Russian numbers that horrify him.

His actual examples are seriously rolling-on-the-floor laughable, such as this: Continue reading

Call Florida House today to stop bad springs amendment 2018-03-01

Update 2018-03-02: The amendment was withdrawn, thanks to all of you who called!

They’re going to vote tomorrow (Friday), so call today or very early tomorrow and ask your state rep to vote against Amendment 246447 by Rep. Ingoglia on HB 1149. That amendment would force septic tanks to be installed near springs while putting off useful actions for years during further “review” and “study”.

Contact numbers for them are here:

Or here are all the ones in the Suwannee River Basin listed on a web page.

2015 onsite sewage final report
Illustration from the “2015 final report written as part of the study originally authorized in Specific Appropriation 1682 of chapter 2008-152, Laws of Florida”.

On House Bill 1149, a general environmental regulation bill, Rep. Blaise Ingoglia (R-35) this afternoon introduced Amendment 246447 which includes for example:

(3) As part of the pilot program, the department, in coordination with the Department of Health, must:

(a) Review and build upon Continue reading

Progress and more to do to Stop Coal Ash Pollution in Georgia

Thanks to all who helped get HB 879 out of one committee and into the Rules Committee. It needs to get out of there to the full Georgia House by this Wednesday February 28, 2018.

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

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

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!

Reclaiming Florida’s Future, Tallahassee 2018-01-31

We visited every Florida statehouse member who represents any part of the Suwannee River Basin, Wednesday in Tallahasse, we the people attending ReThink Energy Florida’s event.

Banner, thanks Kristin Rubin, Waller Park
Suwannee Riverkeeper Banner in Waller Park; thanks Kristin Rubin.

And a primary goal of that lobbying was achieved: the fracking ban bill is sheduled for a committee vote Monday.

When: 4:30 PM – 6PM, Monday, February 5, 2018

Where: Mallory Horne Committee Room, 37 Senate Office Building,
400 Monroe Street, Tallahassee, Florida

Event: facebook.

Stand with us and Continue reading

Hotchkiss Road Landing, Old State Road, and Naylor Boat Ramp

Common question: isn’t Hotchkiss closed? Answer: the old Hotchkiss Landing in Lowndes County is closed, private, and don’t go there! Caution! But Hotchkiss Road Landing in Lanier County is open as always, do go there to get to the Alapaha River. Boat landing And there’s a new park at US 84, with a Naylor Boat Ramp being built by Lowndes County, as urged by WWALS.

600x450 Bret Wagenhorst, Dave Hetzel, Gretchen Quarterman, at Hotchkiss Road, in Alapaha River Outing, by John S. Quarterman, for, 24 August 2014
Bret Wagenhorst, Dave Hetzel, Gretchen Quarterman, at Hotchkiss Road (open, do go there Boat landing), in Alapaha River Outing, by John S. Quarterman, for, 24 August 2014.

Previously there was some discussion of using a different name for Hotchkiss Road Landing in the Alapaha River Water Trail, but then nobody would know what we were referring to, since that’s what it’s always been called, down at the end of Hotchkiss Road off of US 84.

For those relatively new to WWALS, WWALS was heavily involved in Continue reading

Valdosta Wastewater Signals Uncrossed

Thanks to new Valdosta Utilities Director Darryl Muse, we think we have communication channels clarified between Valdosta and WWALS, and we have a proposal for the state of Georgia to do what Florida and Alabama are already doing to prevent communication issues in the future.

Especially since we expected paddlers from Atlanta and Gainesville, Florida, at the Saturday October 14 Withlacoochee outing and Rivers Alive Nankin Landing Cleanup in conjunction witih KLVB, I called upstream the Thursday before to check with Valdosta Utilities, and was told no spills in October.

Much to our surprise after the outing, WWALS E.D. Gretchen Quarterman noticed this online: Thomas Lynn, Valdosta Daily Times, 13 October 2017, Sewer blockage causes city pill,

A sewer line blockage caused nearly 4,000 gallons of sewage to spill earlier in the week.

The City of Valdosta Utilities Department staff responded to a sanitary sewer spill at the 400 block of Connell Road around noon Thursday, according to city officials Friday.

Map: Hydrologic Unit Boundaries, Overview
Hydrologic Unit Boundaries, Two Mile Branch Sub-Basin, Valdosta Master Stormwater Management Plan.

That’s in the top center edge of the Two Mile Branch watershed.

Noon was an hour before I called; keep reading for what happened.

The VDT story continues: Continue reading

Sierra Club Sabal Trail victory –Harriet Heywood in Citrus County Chronicle

More about this in Live Oak this Thursday. Harriet Heywood, Citrus County Chronicle, 4 September 2017, Sierra Club Sabal Trail victory

On June 14, fracked gas from the Marcellus Shale began flowing through the Sabal Trail Pipeline despite a pending lawsuit Sierra Club had against the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Seems the agency had failed to conduct an environmental impact study to consider the climate impacts of the project.

Suwannee Riverkeeper banner, Maxine, Harriett
WWALS members Harriet Heywood and Maxine Connor holding the Suwannee Riverkeeper banner, Dunnellon, Florida, 28 January 2017. Picture by John S. Quarterman for WWALS.

On Aug. 22, a federal appeals court denied the Southeast Market pipeline and Sabal Trail project approval, since FERC did not do the requisite climate study.

Turns out there are still Continue reading