Tag Archives: history

Four Freedoms Trail, Madison, FL to Withlacoochee River

Paddling down the Withlacoochee River from Nankin to Mozell Spells, the remains of the Valdosta Railway Bridge mark on the right bank the north end of the Four Freedoms Trail, one of the few hiking trails on the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail (WLRWT):

Valdosta Railway trestle
Photo: John S. Quarterman for WWALS, 9 July 2016.

The Four Freedoms Trail in Madison County was constructed as a joint effort between Continue reading

FERC Chairman running scared of pipeline opposition

Especially scared of Sierra Club’s DC Circuit Court win against FERC and Sabal Trail. He said the “sea change” in sophistication of the opposition reminded him of the No Nukes movement of the 1970s and 1980s. Maybe he forgets: we won! And solar and wind power are already winning against pipelines.

John Siciliano, 30 November 2017, Washington Examiner, FERC chairman takes a break from discussing coal plan to slam pipeline protesters,

FERC Chair Neil Chatterjee

There has been a “sea change in the identity, volume and goals of stakeholders participating in our proceedings, as well as in the nature and tone of the rhetoric of those who oppose pipeline projects.”

Adding to the national activist groups are the Continue reading

Capt. Henry Will Jones Bridge, Alapaha River, Lakeland, Lanier County, GA

Nobody seems to know the bridge just east of Lakeland has a name: Captain Henry Will Jones Bridge. Just below it is Lakeland Boat Ramp on the Alapaha River Water Trail (ARWT). We’ll be going by there in a few months on the Alapaha Quest.

Scott Thompson, Pieces of Our Past, November 30, 2015, CAPTAIN HENRY WILL JONES,

Captain Henry Will Jones

Henry Will Jones was born about 1917 in what became Lanier County just as our country was entering World War I. After Continue reading

Barber Pool, early 20th century

Floridans worried about springs drying up: it already happened to this one. A sad channel with no flow in Saunders Park once was a large and famous spring-fed pool, remembered by many in Valdosta, Georgia, both those who went there and those who were refused.

Flow channel, 15:45:07,, Former artesian spring 30.8288170, -83.3018410 The man who built Barber Pool at that spring on River Street, E.R. Barber, was the first Coca-Cola bottler outside of Atlanta, an inventor, and also the builder of the current home of the Valdosta-Lowndes County Chamber of Commerce. The Barber-Pittman House is on the National Register of Historic Places. That big house on the main drag, Ashley Street, just north of downtown Valdosta, was willed to the citizens of Valdoosta by his daughter, Ola Barber-PIttman.

Here’s what Barber Pool looked like in its heyday.

Slide, Spring-fed

Slide, Spring-fed

Thanks to Continue reading

OSHA to WWALS about odorant leak, Dunnellon Compressor Station 2017-08-28

OSHA said it believed the pipeline company, in a paper letter, two weeks after the WWALS complaint about Sabal Trail at Dunnellon.

We did get more information about the actual odorant out of OSHA than we ever did out of FERC, and it’s not pretty:

Hazard statements: Slgnal word Danger

Hazard statements:
H225 : Highly flammable liquid and vapour.
H302 : Harmful if swallowed.
H317 : May cause an allergic skin reaction,
H400 : Very toxic to aquatic life,
H411 : Tox1c to aquatic life wnh long lasting effects.

Supplemental Hazard Statements:
Objectionable odor may cause nausea, headache or dizziness. May displace oxygen and cause 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!

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

Old Coffee Road, Georgia

The Google map of locations on Old Coffee Road was used by many of the early settlers of south central Georgia, including in the watersheds of the Willacoochee, Alapaha, Withlacoochee, and Little Rivers and Okapilco Creek. It crossed all those and other waterways by ford or private ferry: there were no bridges back then.

Old Coffee Road map, WWALS.net
Follow this link for the interactive google map.

The Georgia Historical Commission erected markers at half a dozen locations in the 1950s and 1960, reading: Continue reading

Sabal Trail says hazaradous Mercaptan leaks are no danger to the public 2017-08-17

OSHA says the Mercaptan that was smelled miles from the leak “can cause problems for the respiratory system and the central nervous system” but Sabal Trail’s Andrea Grover says “there is no danger to the public”. Which do you believe?

Pinocchio Hint: this is the same Andrea Grover about which the newspaper of record in Valdosta, Georgia wrote four years ago:

Letters submitted to the Valdosta Daily Times and to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission could contradict a recent statement by Sabal Trail’s Andrea Grover.

Looks like we have Pinocchio with her nose growing doing PR for the Three Stooges.

Jessica Lipscomb, Miami New Times, 17 August 2017, Stinky Leaks From Florida’s Controversial Sabal Trail Pipeline Scares Residents, Continue reading

Sabal Trail today about the Dunnellon Compressor Station chronic problem: nyuk nyuk nyuk 2017-08-15

Sabal Trail today spelled out that they are not required to notify anybody about their chronic leaks of hazardous odorant chemicals, as if that explains everything.

Moe Howard of the Three Stooges
Moe Curly Howard of the Three Stooges, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, around 1938, the year the Natural Gas Act was originally passed, giving the predecessor of FERC the ability to hire staff and also presumably to buy a rubberstamp.

Two years ago the judge in WWALS vs. Sabal Trail & FDEP insisted that we couldn’t even ask about pipeline safety, because the Pipeline Safety Act relegates safety concerns of interstate natural gas pipelines to the federal government, mostly to the Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), or maybe to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) during permitting. Well, neither PHMSA nor FERC were even informed of this chronic stink leak incident, and neither of them did anything about it, nor did any other federal or state agency. Marion County was left to deal with it unassisted.

Even PHMSA says on their website that the Pipeline Safety Act: Continue reading