Tag Archives: Chattahoochee Riverkeeper

Nine Riverkeepers say FERC’s Sabal Trail SEIS unacceptable; request pipeline shutdown

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Hahira, Georgia, November 21, 2017 — Factually incorrect, failing to account for LNG export or solar power, and irresponsible for not finding or creating a method for attributing environmental effects to greenhouse gases, as the DC Circuit Court had instructed the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to do: that’s what nine Riverkeepers called FERC’s Supplementary Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) yesterday; see their letter to FERC. The nine include all the Riverkeepers in the path of Sabal Trail and all parts of the Southeast Market Pipelines Project (SMPP) plus others in all three states invaded by those pipelines, Florida, Georgia, Alabama, plus Oklahoma, where the SMPP instigator, Florida Power & Light (FPL), owns a fracking field, The nine, who support fishable, swimmable, drinkable water, pointed out that all of FPL’s original excuses for Sabal Trail have been proven incorrect, and asked FERC to shut it down.

Green is Sabal Trail; Transco and FSC in black, SMPP
Sabal Trail in green, Transco and FSC in black, in Sierra Club interactive map of gas pipelines.

The Riverkeepers weren’t buying FERC’s ignorance: Continue reading

Eight Riverkeepers oppose FERC’s inaccurate and inadequate Sabal Trail SEIS and request pipeline shutdown 2017-11-20

Filed today as FERC Accession number 20171120-5130, “Opposition to the incorrect and inadequate FERC Sabal Trail SEIS and request for pipeline shut down by Suwannee Riverkeeper (WWALS) and Apalachicola, Ogeechee, Grand, Choctawhatchee, Chattahoochee, Indian, and Flint Riverkeepers.” (Or see WWALS PDF.)

Shut it down, From: The undersigned Waterkeepers

Date: November 20, 2017

To: Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
888 First Street NE, Room 1A
Washington, DC 20426

Re: We oppose the incorrect and inadequate FERC Sabal Trail SEIS
FERC Docket Numbers CP14-554-002, CP15-16-003, and CP15-17-002

On September 27, 2017, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) published a draft Supplementary Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS).[1] That SEIS was in response to the August 27, 2017 DC Circuit Court decision[2] regarding FERC’s previous approval of Certificates of Convenience and Necessity for the three parts of the Southeast Markets Pipeline Project (SMPP), which are the Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Company, LLC’s (Transco) Hillabee Expansion Project in Docket No. CP15-16-000; Sabal Trail Transmission, LLC’s (Sabal Trail) Sabal Trail Project in Docket No. CP15-17-000; and Florida Southeast Connection, LLC’s (FSC) Florida Southeast Connection Project in Docket No. CP14-554-000. The judges ordered:

“The orders under review are vacated and remanded to FERC for the preparation of an environmental impact statement that is consistent with this opinion.“

The draft SEIS issued by FERC is clearly not consistent with the court’s opinion for the following reasons:

  1. The SEIS is factually incorrect in stating that: Continue reading

Pinocchio or Vulcan? Still claims Sabal Trail is safe 2017-09-14

Is Ms. Grover is a Vulcan now?

Asked why a pipeline dispatcher apparently told the fire department that “this was a new system and they are still learning,” Grover responds that “it would be illogical to speculate as to what the fire department has quoted as part of a conversation.”

Or are those just Pinocchio donkey ears? That would be more logical.

Who do you believe? A local county fire department, or someone paid by a pipeline company to put the best face on any event? Especially when she didn’t actually deny anything Marion County Fire Rescue reported?

Amy Martyn, ConsumerAffairs, 14 September 2017, Company says its natural gas pipeline ‘operated safely’ through Hurricane Irma; However, activists say the Sabal Trail Pipeline is dangerous and needs to be removed,

The Sabal Trail Pipeline, a new natural gas pipeline that critics have charged is uncomfortably close to Florida’s main aquifer, “operated safely throughout Hurricane Irma,” a spokesperson with the pipeline operator tells ConsumerAffairs.

“We were and continue to be able to meet any customer needs,” says an email from Andrea Grover of Enbridge Energy, the natural gas company behind the Sabal Trail Pipeline. “Operations was not affected by the hurricane impacts.”

Andrea Grover’s linkedin page lists her as “Director, Stakeholder Outreach at Enbridge (Oil & Gas)”. For four years we were told the pipeline’s “stakeholders” were landowners along the way.

You know, like Brooks County, Georgia, farmer Randy Dowdy, whose world-record-holding soybean fields Sabal Trail destroyed, causing generational damage that Sabal Trail has not addressed.

Or Robin Koon, whose family graveyard Sabal Trail disturbed, which is part of why he helped Sierra Club, Flint Riverkeeper, and Chattahoochee Riverkeeper get standing for their recent historic victory over FERC that could still shut down Sabal Trail and already was cited in a denial of a different pipeline.

Curious how now that Sabal Trail has gotten its pipe in the ground, Ms. Grover no longer mentions “stakeholders,” just “customer needs.” Which is all Sabal Trail has been about all along: profit for a few utilities and pipeline companies, and for the frackers in the Marcellus Shale and Oklahoma and elsewhere to sell their greenhouse-gas-producing product through a 500-mile IED. Even FPL has admitted Florida needs no new electricity until 2024 at the earliest, and a stock analyst has revealed that all Sabal Trail is doing is decreasing gas shipped into Florida through FGT and Gulfstream by the same amount Sabal Trail is shipping. Why did local landowners have to give up easements for nothing but profit for utiltiies, frackers, and Spectra Energy of Houston, Texas, now owned by Enbridge of Calgary, Alberta, Canada?

But is Sabal Trail even serving those customers well? Cody Suggs reported yesterday from the Hildreth Compressor Station site near O’Brien, in Suwannee County, Florida, that power is still off there and it took two days for trees to be cleared off the access road.


Photo: Cody Suggs at Sabal Trail Hildreth Compressor Station Site 2017-09-14.

Natural gas began flowing through the Sabal Trail Pipeline in June 2017. People like John Quarterman, a Georgia landowner and activist with WWALS Watershed Coalition, a group that aims to protect watersheds in Georgia and Florida, say that federal regulators are typically asleep at the wheel for these projects.

“We have this 500-mile improvised explosive device, under our rivers, next to our schools and next to people’s houses and nobody is handling pipeline safety,” he tells ConsumerAffairs.

Well, I remember three years ago when Ms. Grover said she found it “hard to believe” that Sabal Trail was threatening landowners with eminent domain until the Valdosta Daily Times (VDT) published one of the actual letters.

Ms. Grover’s response? She used the VDT to threaten landowners with eminent domain.

That was shortly after Sabal Trail attempted to claim customers in Georgia to justify the Georgia eminent domain they were threatening, but didn’t bother to contact the local governments they claimed needed the gas.

Four years ago, Ms. Grover and Brian Fahrenthold, “the state and local government affairs director for Houston-based Spectra Energy”, told me they were “not familiar with” Spectra’s well-known public record of safety violations. She did claim everybody in Pennsylvania was happy after the infamous Steckman Ridge Compressor Station leak, for which she was called in to do spin control, which led to a rebuttal from Pennsylvania, beginning:

“I speak for more than a dozen families who live next to or near the problematic compressor facility; and your statement is incorrect and misleading.”

Neither Ms. Grover nor Spectra Energy ever responded to that rebuttal, to my knowledge.

Please let me be clear: this is not about Ms. Grover personally. As I told her the first time I met her, she is the best I have ever seen at doing her job. Which is to market her company.

Too bad her company is a pipeline company that gouged under our rivers, causing a frac-out and sinkholes, destroyed farmlands, goes right past schools and homes, and has already leaked hazardous Mercaptan at its Dunnellon, Florida, Compressor Station site.

That Steckman Ridge Compressor Station blowout? They called in Ms. Grover because another “stakeholder outreach” Spectra Energy rep. had to backtrack. And for that 2009 incident, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania fined Spectra in 2010.

Back to the ConsumerAffairs story:

Sinkholes and hurricanes

Florida’s landscape is characterized by karst terrain, or land made of porous limestone, caverns, and water dissolving into the bedrock, all of which are a recipe for sinkholes. Man-made infrastructure can increase the chance of a sinkhole forming, and so can intense rain.

“Man-induced sinkholes typically involve collapse of old mine workings, drainage infrastructure or other underground workings,” explained meteorologist Jim Andrews in one recent report. “Naturally, such can fail over time, and rainfall can be a major factor.”

In fact, at least four homes have been evacuated in central Florida this week after sinkholes formed in the wake of Hurricane Irma, according to reporters on the scene. Still, Enbridge Energy says that their pipeline can handle sinkhole-prone terrain.

Well, we’ve already come pretty close to finding out, with a sinkhole a half mile away Monday from Sabal Trail’s sister Florida Southeast Connection (FSC).

Sinkhole, FPL pipeline, FLiNG, FSC
Sinkhole, FPL pipeline, FLiNG, FSC; map by John S. Quarterman for WWALS.

Back to the ConsumerAffairs story:

“While opposition has raised the issue of the pipeline being constructed in karst terrain, this was thoroughly examined by the appropriate federal and state agencies,” responds Enbridge representative Andrea Grover by email. “They concluded it was unlikely that Sabal Trail would impact springs or the Floridan Aquifer in the karst regions. Sabal Trail is well equipped to safely construct and operate the pipeline in karst areas.”

Violations Sabal Trail and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) told us would not happen, under oath in WWALS vs. Sabal Trail & FDEP (October 2015), have already been happening.


Photo of John S. Quarterman at Sabal Trail frac-out into the Withlacoochee River between Quitman and Valdosta, Georgia: Bruce Ritchie, Politico, 17 November 2016.

But Quarterman says he does not trust the company to voluntarily report any issues that may arise. Activists with his group who live along the pipeline route have been tracking the project themselves, both before and after Hurricane Irma, to make sure no leaks, sinkholes underneath the pipeline, or any other issues have occurred.

Why, yes, I do have some sceptism about that.

As always, there’s more in the story.

No more pipelines. Here are some things you can do to help with that.

Let the sun rise on Florida, Georgia, Alabama, the southeast, and the rest of the country and the world.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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

Sierra Club Big Win already cited in denial of Valley Lateral Pipeline 2017-08-31

The pipeline industry is right to be spooked by what its calls a Great Major Victory that Sierra Club, Flint Riverkeeper, and Chattahoochee Riverkeeper won against FERC and Sabal Trail.

The very next week after that Great Major Victory involving greenhouse gases: Rob Friedman and Kimberly Ong, NRDC, 31 August 2017 , New York State Blocks the Valley Lateral Pipeline!


Grassroots advocates have been fighting the Valley Lateral and CPV Energy Center for over 5 years
Erik McGregor/Pacific Press

In a victory for all New Yorkers, the state has blocked a natural gas pipeline that would have Continue reading

The Three Stooges Greatest Sabal Fails at Dunnellon

To see Sabal Fail in inaction at Dunnellon, jump to The Dunnellon odorant leaks, where the pipeline stooges wrapped it in towels, sprayed a deodorant, and waited until morning. Really, according to the incident report from Marion County Fire Rescue. It doesn’t get better in this summary: none of the state or federal permitting or safety agencies did anything, leaving Marion County to deal with the situation unassisted.

The Three Stooges: A Plumbing We Will Go

If you want to know some background, see also Continue reading

From pipelines to renewable energy and efficiency –Sierra Club 2017-08-29

“Once the court officially returns the matter to FERC, the pipeline should cease operations while FERC undertakes the new analysis,” wrote Elly Benson, lead attorney for the case Sierra Club just won against Sabal Trail.

She summed up: ”Instead of sacrificing our communities and environment to build unnecessary pipelines that “set up surefire profits” for pipeline companies at the expense of captive ratepayers, the focus should be on transitioning to clean renewable energy and energy efficiency—especially in the Sunshine State. Forcing federal agencies to grapple with the true climate impacts of dirty fossil fuel projects is a big step in the right direction.”

She leads off this fourth in a WWALS news roundup series (1, 2, 3) about that case, followed by Gordon Rogers, Flint Riverkeeper, another party to the case.

WWALS is not a party to that case and does not speak for the parties, so I can be a cheerleader for them. Shut it down! Let the sun rise!

How many pipelines do we want? None! When do we want it? Never!
How many pipelines do we want? None! When do we want them? Never! —WWALS at the Sabal Trail Suwannee River crossing, 15 August 2015.

This is wind in our sails and could be the end of Sabal Trail –Suwannee Riverkeeper in VDT 2017-08-24

Update 2017-08-29: Fourth news roundup: From pipelines to renewable energy and efficiency –Sierra Club 2017-08-29

“This is wind in our sails and could be the end of Sabal Trail,” Quarterman said, on the front page of the newspaper of record in the largest city in the Suwannee Basin, the Valdosta Daily Times.

Heading downstream
We got sails no one can see.
Suwannee Riverkeeper Vessel on the Suwannee River protesting Sabal Trail 2017-01-14

As Frank Jackalone says (see below), FERC has been getting away with murder. And now maybe they can’t.

Thomas Lynn, Valdosta Daily Times, 23 August 2017, Court decision to impact Sabal Trail pipeline, Continue reading