Tag Archives: GHG

Rivers bigger and more important that previously thought 2018-06-28

Rivers and streams cover more of the earth’s surface than previously thought, and likely interchange more CO2 and other gases with the atmosphere than previously thought. WWALS Science Committee Chair Tom Potter found this paper.

George H. Allen and Tamlin M. Pavelsky, Science, 28 Jun 2018, DOI: 10.1126/science.aat0636 Global extent of rivers and streams,

Abstract

The turbulent surfaces of rivers and streams are natural hotspots of biogeochemical exchange with the atmosphere. At the global scale, the total river-atmosphere flux of trace gasses such as CO2 depends on the proportion of Earth’s surface that is covered by the fluvial network, yet the total surface area of rivers and streams is poorly constrained. We used a global database of planform river hydromorphology and a statistical approach to show that global river and stream surface area at mean annual discharge is 773,000 ± 79,000 km2 (0.58 ± 0.06%) of Earth’s non-glaciated land surface, an area 44 ± 15% larger than previous spatial estimates. We found that rivers and streams likely play a greater role in controlling land-atmosphere fluxes than currently represented in global carbon budgets.

Fig. 1. Global River Widths from Landsat (GRWL) Database, Figure
Fig. 1. The Global River Widths from Landsat (GRWL) Database contains more than 58 million measurements of planform river geometry. The line plot on the right shows observed river coverage as a percentage of land area by latitude, and the bottom insets show GRWL at increasing zoom. The rightmost inset shows GRWL orthogonals over which river width was calculated, with only every eighth orthogonal shown for clarity.

You can see the lower Suwannee River in the above figure.

The authors zoom in on the Amazon River Basin in Brazil, but those last two zooms could easily be Continue reading

FERC rubberstamps four rehearing denials and a new pipeline on a Friday 2018-08-10

Scurrying to use its rubberstamp before a Commissioner departing leaves it tied 2:2, FERC once again rubberstamped multiple pipelines, this time three on a Friday plus an LNG export project, while neither its main online library nor its backup library yielded copies of the orders.

I found these four by googling:

  • 164 FERC ¶ 61,099 Florida Southeast Connection, LLC Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Company, Sabal Trail Transmission, Docket Nos. CP14-554-003, LLC CP15-16-004, LLC CP15-17-003, ORDER DENYING REHEARING, Issued August 10, 2018
  • 164 FERC ¶ 61,098, PennEast Pipeline Company, LLC, Docket No. CP15-558-001, ORDER ON REHEARING, August 10, 2018.
  • 164 FERC ¶ 61,100, Atlantic Coast Pipeline, LLC, Dominion Transmission, Inc., Atlantic Coast Pipeline, LLC, Piedmont Natural Gas Company, Inc., Docket Nos. CP15-554-002, CP15-555-001, CP15-556-001, Order on Rehearing, August 10 2018.
  • 164 FERC ¶ 61,102, Dominion Energy Cove Point LNG, LP, Docket No. CP17-15-001, ORDER DENYING REHEARING, August 10, 2018.

Oh, wait, a mention of a docket number in a FERC agenda leads me to one more Friday rubberstamp, of a new Transco pipeline in New Jersey:

FERC rubberstamp

  • 164 FERC ¶ 61,101, Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Company, LLC, Docket No. CP17-490-000, ORDER ISSUING CERTIFICATE, August 10, 2018.

Commissioner Cheryl A. LaFleur dissented from Continue reading

Glick and LaFleur dissent again from a Spectra pipeline permit 2018-07-19

FERC just rubberstamped three pipelines before Commissioner Robert Powelson exits next month. Yet Commissioners Glick and LaFleur are still complaining every time about lack of use of Social Cost of Carbon to account for Greenhouse Gases (GHG). Those dissents started after Sierra Club won against FERC and Sabal Trail in the DC District Court on just that subject; recently FERC and Sabal Trail declined to appeal to the Supreme Court, thus admitting the pipeline company and its permitter lost that case.

Open Season, Maps
Open Season Maps, TX-LA Pipeline Project

Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur spelled out the connection in her dissent on Spectra’s Texas-Louisiana Markets Project:

I believe the fact pattern presented in this case, a pipeline designed to serve a specific known downstream powerplant, falls squarely within the precedent of Sierra Club v. FERC.1 Given that the majority’s analysis here suffers from the same flaws as its decision on remand in Sabal Trail,2 I respectfully dissent.

Commissioner Richard Glick in his dissent on the same pipeline also explicitly cited Sierra Club v. FERC (Sabal Trail) and went further about the specific underlying laws FERC is shirking:

“Today, the Commission issues a certificate to Texas Eastern Transmission, LP to construct and operate the Texas Industrial Market Expansion Project and the Louisiana Market Expansion Project (Projects), concluding that the Projects are required by the public convenience and necessity.1 The Commission also finds that the Projects will not have a significant effect on the environment.2 In reaching these conclusions, the Commission maintains that it need not consider the harm caused by the Projects’ contribution to climate change. The Commission’s refusal to do so falls well short of our obligations under the Natural Gas Act (NGA)3 and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).4 Because I disagree with these conclusions and believe the Commission cannot find that the Projects are in the public interest without first considering the significance of the Projects’ contribution to climate change,5 I dissent in part from the Commission’s action today.

And yes, he really wrote “shirk”: Continue reading

FERC and Sabal Trail admit Sierra Club won 2018-07-03

One week after losing a jury trial in the U.S. Middle District Court of Georgia, the Sabal Trail fracked methane pipeline and its purveyor of federal eminent domain, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), declined to appeal their huge DC District Court loss of last August.

Sierra Club, Press Release, 3 July 2018, Fracked Gas Pipeline Company and Federal Regulator Will Not Seek Supreme Court Review of Landmark Ruling: Existing Decision Means FERC Must Consider Downstream Greenhouse Gas Emissions,

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Neither the builders of the fracked gas Sabal Trail Pipeline nor the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) will ask the Supreme Court to review a landmark ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit from last year. That decision required FERC to consider the effects of downstream greenhouse gases when deciding whether to approve proposed pipelines that transport gas.

In response, Sierra Club Staff Attorney Elly Benson released the following statement:

Elly Benson, Sierra Club Attorney
Elly Benson, Sierra Club Staff Attorney

“We are glad to see FERC accept its responsibility to consider greenhouse gas emissions from burning transported gas at downstream power plants. These dirty, dangerous, and unnecessary pipelines pose a threat to our communities and climate. They should not be proposed, much less built, at a time when clean, renewable energy sources are abundant and affordable. We will continue to monitor the pipeline permitting process to ensure the law is followed.”

The pipeline industry press was not thrilled. Charlie Passut, Natural Gas Intelligence, 5 July 2018, FERC Declines to Appeal Landmark GHG Case to Supreme Court, Continue reading

FERC inadvertently clears path for renewable energy via storage 2018-02-15

FERC just let slip the wolves of sun and wind by enabling the storage that those sunny twenty-first-century “aggregated distributed energy resources” (DER) will use to blow down the straw houses of traditional twentieth-century so-called baseload capacity coal, oil, and nuclear power plants.

FERC Commissioner Robert F. Powelson called out the “participation model” Thursday’s twin orders enable, bypassing many traditional charges by accounting for physical characteristics that do not change over time, recognizing that batteries, sun, and wind power are basically different from old-style dinosaur power plants. Commissioner Neil Chatterjee named Senators Ed Markey and Sheldon Whitehouse as proponents of these new rules, which is very interesting since both have long been proponents of renewable energy, and Sen. Whitehouse called out FERC for failing to implement the DC Circuit Court’s Order on greenhouse gases. Commissioner Cheryl A. LaFleur said “Electric storage is like a ‘Swiss army knife’”. Maybe more like the South Australian storage utility player that has already out-responded natural gas during coal plant outages. Commissioner Richard Glick says sun and wind power “no less than energy storage, have the potential to play a leading role in the electric grid of the future”. None of the Commissioners could bring themselves to say what they all know: sun, wind, water power with storage will be the electric grid of the future. Former FERC Chair Jon Wellinghoff and I were right in 2013: solar power will provide more U.S. electricity than any other source by 2023, on the way to complete conversion of everything to sun, wind, water, and storage by 2050.

Frequency response of Tesla South Australian battery
Giles Parkinson, Reneweconomy, 23 January 2018, Tesla big battery moves from show-boating to money-making.

Gavin Bade, UtilityDive, Feb. 15, 2018, FERC issues storage, reliability orders, calls conference on aggregated DERs, Continue reading

Emergency! Cries Sabal Trail 2018-02-02

Desperately seeking loopholes, at 4:58 PM today on a Friday, Sabal Trail claimed “Applicants would face irreparable financial harm,” which is pretty rich for the company that stuck the Bell Brothers with $47,000 in Sabal Trail legal fees for fighting eminent domain from that same FERC certificate the DC Circuit Court is likely to void next week.

Emergency,

It wants to “avoid the irreparable impacts of a system shutdown,” says the company that destroyed world-record-holding soybean farmer Randy Dowdy’s soybean fields. As Randy Dowdy said last May, and Sabal Trail’s own reports then say they have done nothing to correct:

“We’ve got loss of production for the future that will take not my lifetime, Continue reading

Motion to reject FERC DSEIS, to take Sabal Trail out of service, and to revoke its permit: WWALS to FERC 2017-12-29

reopen the whole basis of the FERC 2016 Order, Filing FERC, if it follows its own rules, should reject the DSEIS, stop Sabal Trail, and revoke its permit, says a motion filed today with FERC by Suwannee Riverkeeper.

Followup blog posts will feature major sections and arguments from these 20 pages with their 93 footnotes. The basic arguments are summarized on the first page:

WWALS argues that no SEIS can be complete without accounting for GHG from Liquid Natural Gas (“LNG”) exports, nor without comparing natural gas to solar power, according to precedents already set by FPL, FERC, and others, which also reopen the whole basis of the FERC 2016 Order.

FERC may not care, but the D.C. Circuit Court may, or candidates for office, or the voting public.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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


Filed with FERC today as Continue reading

EPA perfunctory Lack of Objections to FERC Sabal Trail DSEIS 2017-11-20

EPA doesn’t even remember when it sent its own greenhouse gas (GHG) comments to FERC, forgets that it already told FERC nevermind, and now says, despite copious evidence filed by Senators, professors, Riverkeepers, and environmental organizations from multiple states as far away as Colorado, that FERC’s incorrect and inadequate Draft Supplementary Environmental Impact Statemen (FSEIS) rates “Lack of Objections or “LO””.

EPA to FERC, Re: SMPP This latest EPA letter is dated November 20, 2017, but FERC didn’t inform intervenors about it until today, two weeks later. The EPA letter claims:

The EPA commented on the FEIS on January 25, 2016. In those comments the EPA provided several recommendations including that the FERC consider a detailed evaluation of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in future analyses.

Yet FERC’s Docket CP15-17 shows no comment by EPA in January 2016. It does show this same G. Alan Farmer, Director, Resource Conservation and Restoration Division, EPA, wrote a letter to FERC filed 1 December 2015 as Accession Number 20171201-0034 (see also WWALS blog post), in which he said nothing I can see about greenhouse gases, but he did basically say “nevermind” to EPA’s extensive letter of October 26, 2015, filed as Accession Number 0151102-0219 (clean text on the WWALS website), which October letter did include: Continue reading

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