Tag Archives: Jacksonville

The illusion of pipeline invincibility is shattered –WWALS Brief to FERC in Sabal Trail Rehearing

Let’s cut to the chase in the letter we filed with FERC yesterday:

11. Historic new circumstances add up

The sun never set on the British Empire. Until it did.

No one circumstance ended that Empire, but it is easy to point at major events that accelerated its demise, such as the independence of India and the Suez Incident. Its fall started after the illusion of its invincibility was shattered by Gandhi’s campaign of civil disobedience and other events such as World War II.

The illusion of invincibility of the inland colonial empire of pipelines has been shattered by recent court orders about the ACP, DAPL, and others, and especially by the shut down of the Dakota Access Pipeline and the shuttering of the Constitution Pipeline and the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. All of those pipelines were expected to be built, and DAPL actually was built before being ordered to shut down and empty. Now the world knows that pipelines are not inevitable.

All these pipeline projects, like Sabal Trail, were opposed by nonviolent protests and political and legal actions. All those methods of opposition, combined with the sea-change in progress to renewable energy, eventually added up to a new and significantly different world than that in which Sabal Trail was permitted or re-permitted.

The shut down of DAPL and the abandonment of ACP as well as the court rejection of tolling orders make it a new world even since FERC’s June 19, 2020, Order granting a rehearing on Sierra Club’s motion.

FERC should initiate a new [Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement] EIS that should take into account Sabal Trail’s own track record of leaks and sinkholes, as well as leaks and accidents from [Liquid Natural Gas] LNG export and LNG transport in rail cars, the speeding demise of fossil fuels as evidenced by record low LNG export prices and bankruptcies of frackers, the court rejections of DAPL, ACP, and tolling orders and how much of Sabal Trail could never have been built through environmental justice communities without tolling orders, the coronavirus pandemic, and the rapid rise of renewable solar, wind, and battery power as evidenced by FPL and Sabal Trail partners Duke and NextEra, as well as by FERC’s own numbers. All of those new and significant circumstances make pipelines such as Sabal Trail toxic stranded assets, dangerous to the bank accounts of their investors, as well as to the environment, justice, and human health.

Conclusion

For the reasons stated above, WWALS asks FERC to grant Sierra Club’s motion for stay of the Commission’s letter order of April 22, 2020, to halt Sabal Trail Phase II, and to commence a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) taking into account all of the above new and significant circumstances.

[Third-party inspection, recission, stay, SEIS]
Third-party inspection, recission, stay, SEIS

For those who are not familiar with tolling orders, they are basically how, after the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) gives federal eminent domain to a private pipeline company, FERC lets that pipeline company take land before any payment to the landowner or even any agreement is reached. Without tolling orders, it’s not clear the FERC will ever get another pipeline built.

Here’s a longer explanation. Continue reading

AGL pipeline explosion settlement deferred again by GA-PSC for state-wide safety: needs to add LNG 2019-09-19

For more time to examine where gas detectors are needed throughout the state, GA-PSC has again deferred voting on the AGL settlement. As Commissioner Jason Shaw said at the first deferral Tuesday, they want to “make sure that all across the state we can make sure that this type of equipment…” is available.

Plus GA-PSC should take a hard look at AGL subsidiary Pivotal LNG’s Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) liquefaction facilities and truck and train routes from them to Jacksonville, Florida, especially since the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has shirked its oversight duties for inland LNG facilities.

AGL pipeline map, Georgia
Georgia, AGL Pipeline Map, in Homerville, GA pipeline explosion, by John S. Quarterman, 17 August 2018

AGL has pipelines all over the state of Georgia. I don’t know any reason to believe any of them are any safer than the one that goes from my property in Lowndes County to Homerville in Clinch County (and to Moody Air Force Base, to parts of Valdosta, to Ray City in Berrien County, and to Lakeland in Lanier County).

The map above is the newest I could find online. It was last updated in 2008, more than a decade ago. No doubt AGL can provide the PSC with more current mapping data. Maybe the PSC could require AGL to provide an updated map to the public.

The Public Map Viewer by the Pipeline and Hazardous Safety Administration (PHMSA) is no help: it does not include AGL’s distribution pipelines such as the one to Homerville.

PHMSA was sufficiently concerned about the Homerville Coffee Corner explosion that it wrote on AGL’s report to PHMSA: Continue reading

Last year’s winner Laura D’Alisera headlines Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest

Last year, Laura D’Alisera of Jacksonville, Florida, won both the $50 prize for best song from outside the Suwannee River Basin, and the $300 First Prize for best song. This year, she’s on the committee that selected the seven finalists who will play for the three judges and you this Saturday, August 24, 2019. But first, Laura and Joe Smothers will entertain you, so come on down, 1-5 PM, to The Salty Sanpper, 1405 Gornto Road, Valdosta, GA, where radio personality Chris Beckham will be our M.C.

Laura D'Alisera (Sara Jay)
Photo: Sara Jay, of Laura D’Alisera winning the First Annual Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest last year (2018).

Laura said her song is Continue reading

Extended: PHMSA LNG by rail car exception until 2019-08-07 on 2019-07-09

The only extension request PHMSA admitted to today, as it extended the comment period for a month, was from two members of Congress. That request notes:

If Energy Transport Solutions intends to run 100+ rail tank cars on the Florida East Coast Railway, PHMSA would be placing large swaths of people and critical infrastructure (hospitals, schools, highways, and even the President’s Mar-a-Lago resort) in jeopardy.

[3.3.2 Probability of Delayed Ignition]
3.3.2 Probability of Delayed Ignition

PHMSA also took the opportunity to add an Updated Environmental Assessment (EA), and a Quantitative Risk Analysis (QRA), which is worthless: “The scope of the QRA addresses unit train movements along one example route located in the Northeastern United States.” The QRA has no maps nor any specific identification of populations, schools, hospitals, businesses, nor even identification of which route is the example, nor which other routes might be used for shipping LNG by rail.

This all to me sounds like PHMSA always intended to extend, and to add these less than useful documents.

PHMSA also claims it added “The Energy Transport Solutions, LLC special permit application (in redacted form)” but I can’t find that online, so we still don’t even really know who the applicant is.

Extension Notice

Continue reading

PHMSA LNG by rail car exception 2019-06-06

Alachua County, New Jersey legislators, WWALS, and the U.S. House of Representatives oppose this PHMSA LNG-by-rail exception, and you can, too.

[Special Permit- Draft-0001]
Special Permit- Draft-0001

PHMSA proposes to authorize LNG in ordinary cryogenic rail cars, in an exception for a subsidiary of the company that owns Hialeah LNG and already sends LNG in containers by rail for export. “In most cases, ETS would expect that the ultimate end-users of this LNG will be foreign generators of power for residential, commercial and industrial purposes,” says the Draft Environmental Assessment. Why should we risk our homes, schools, businesses, hospitals, etc. for private export profit from New Fortress Energy’s Hialeah LNG plant near Miami? Or for a liquefaction plant in Pennsylvania or New Jersey?

PHMSA posted this extension request on June 3rd, and the deadline for comment is this Monday, July 8, 2019. WWALS signed onto an extension request by Physicians for Social Responsibility. You can still send in a copy of that request or other comments by Monday. WWALS will be filing another comment letter, as well.

The only ETS google maps finds in Doral, FL, is Continue reading

Judges Selected for Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Hahira, Georgia, July 1, 2019 — Three judges are ready to pick the winners at the Second Annual Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest: two from Georgia and one from Florida. Tony Buzella, J.J. Rolle, and Tim Teasley will mark finalists on originality of lyrics and music, musical consistency, showing the integrity and value of the waters, historical value, performance, and more. Radio personality Chris Beckham of Tifton will M.C.

[Three]
Three Judges

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Jury awards 33 times what Sabal Trail offered to Levy Co., FL landowner 2018-11-09

If this isn’t what Sabal Trail was scared of back in September when they settled three jury trials in Valdosta, Georgia, it should have been.

Sabal Trail path digitized by WWALS, Maps

Andrew Caplan, Gainesville Sun, 12 November 2018, Sabal Trail must pay Levy landowners $1.3M

A 12-member jury in Gainesville awarded Levy County residents Lee Thomas and his son, Ryan, more than $1.3 million for land that Sabal Trail built its pipeline on.

Sabal Trail Transmission was back in federal court in Friday to defend its controversial $3 billion project and the offers it made to a pair of landowners for uprooting and burying a natural gas pipeline on their property.

That didn’t go over so well.

Continue reading

TECO joins Duke and FPL building solar in Florida 2018-10-29

Solar in Florida is not just for Duke and FPL anymore: Tampa Electric is building 260 megawatt hours of solar power, and the Florida PSC and Office of Public Counsel are praising it for reducing coal and natural gas burning. Even FPSC, which approved the Sabal Trail fracked methane pipeline boondoggle only five years ago, is starting to look up and see the sun in the Sunshine State.

Michael Moline, FloridaPolitics.com, 29 October 2018, Tampa Electric wins PSC clearance for solar power projects,

Tampa Electric solar projects

The Public Service Commission approved a deal Monday that allows Tampa Electric Co. to build five solar-generating plants and pass along the $46 million tab to its ratepayers.

Note that’s million with a letter m, not like the billions FPL is charging its customers for Sabal Trail. Continue reading

Facebook group: Dangerous Liquified Natural Gas trains and trucks

For discussion and getting the word out, there’s a new facebook group, Dangerous Liquefied Natural Gas on Trains/Trucks.

In a March 3, 2016, letter, the Federal Railroad Administration warned Florida East Coast Railway of the danger of transporting Liquefied Natural Gas on the same tracks as high-speed passenger rail. What could go wrong? Do the math…. If an LNG container is breached, accidentally or intentionally, the liquid begins to warm, resulting in a Flammable Vapor-Cloud that can be blown around by the wind, igniting everything in its path. In Fernley, Nevada, the Flammable Vapor-Cloud fire from a tanker truck loaded with 10,000 gallons of LNG appeared to have been caused by static electricity. Flames shot 40 feet into the air and fire officials evacuated the area. The fire burned for a couple of days, before eventually burning itself out.

Photo: Howard Salmon, for Tahoe Daily Tribune, of Fernley, NV, LNG tanker truck fire, 2005-09-14
Photo: Howard Salmon, for Tahoe Daily Tribune, of Fernley, NV, LNG tanker truck fire, 2005-09-14

As that facebook group says, if you want to help stop fires like that from happening in Florida or Georgia, you can contribute to the WWALS legal fund for the pending case against the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for shirking its inland LNG oversight duty.

Thanks to Continue reading

LNG export from Port Everglades and Jacksonville –Florida Bulldog 2018-08-22

Florida Bulldog reports on LNG exports right now from Fortress Energy’s Hialeah plant through Port Everglades via Florida East Coast Railway (FECR) through densely populated neighborhoods. The larger story includes FECR can export via Crowley Maritime from Jacksonville, and Pivotal LNG is already exporting LNG from Alabama and Georgia through JAX, arriving via truck down I-75 and I-10. Plus offshoot pipelines from Sabal Trail already go to both Jacksonville and Riviera Beach. Why should we let these corporations cash in on fracked methane now that solar power is already here?

A Crowley LNG export ship fueled by LNG.
An LNG export ship fueled by LNG. Image: Crowley Maritime; “An artist’s rendering of one of Crowley’s LNGfueled, combination container and roll-on/roll-off (ConRo) ships—El Coqui slated for delivery in 2017.”

Ann Henson Feltgen, Florida Bulldog.org, 22 August 2018, Despite ‘disaster risk,’ trains haul hazardous gas cargo in South Florida,

About the same time Florida East Coast Railway (FEC) executives were convincing Florida’s east coast cities and counties to back its idea of privately owned passenger trains traversing downtowns and densely populated neighborhoods, it quietly sought and won permission to haul extremely flammable liquified natural gas along the same tracks.

Liquefied natural gas (LNG) is a hazardous material Continue reading