Tag Archives: Law

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

DoE FE can’t identify the circumstances for revoking an LNG export authorization

What sort of oversight can the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) Office of Fossil Energy (FE) be performing for Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) export terminals when it says that: “DOE has stated that it ‘cannot precisely identify all the circumstances under which such action would be taken.’” Further:

DOE/FE has never rescinded a longterm non-FTA export authorization for any reason. Further, DOE has no record of ever having vacated or rescinded an authorization to import or export natural gas over the objections of the authorization holder.

This is all from a recent DoE article in the U.S. Federal Register, in which DoE manages to come up with only one example:

Louisiana LNG Energy LLC, in google cache
Louisiana LNG Energy LLC, in google cache

DOE has rescinded (or “vacated”) one long-term LNG export authorization to FTA countries (see supra note 2)—DOE/ FE Order No. 3482, issued to Continue reading

Landowner wins over Sabal Trail in jury trial, jsq on Scott James radio 2018-06-29

The just compensation for property takings required by the Fifth Amendment is not “just” compensation, said Scott James. And a jury of peers of a landowner told Sabal Trail to pay up five times what it offered for an easement for its fracked gas pipeline.

“…nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”
—Fifth Amendment, U.S. Constitution

Scott said this jury award was big news and asked if it was just compensation. I said yes, front page in the Valdosta Daily Times.


VDT front page

And five times is more just than before. But how is a one-time payment Continue reading

WCTV: Celebrating victory against Sabal Trail

Emma Wheeler, WCTV, 27 June 2018, Landowners, environmentalists celebrate ‘small victory’ over Sabal Trail,

The Sabal Trail natural gas pipeline was granted eminent domain in order to run through some of the private properties along its path. In doing so it was required to offer what the defense calls ‘just compensation.’

Eminent domain

One Moultrie land owner was offered around $20,000 for an easement on his property. This week a jury, siding with the land owner, decided that was not enough.

Sabal Trail is now ordered to pay five times that amount, more than Continue reading

Sabal Trail loses jury trial in Valdosta, GA 2018-06-26

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 26, 2018, Valdosta, GA — The jury deliberated a bit less than an hour two hours, delivering a verdict just before 7PM tonight: $103,385 for easement and $4,531.50 for timber. The figures offered by Sabal Trail were $19,979 for easement and $4,117 for timber. Assuming these numbers transcribed from various speakers are correct, the jury awarded five times what Sabal Trail offered for the pipeline easement and somewhat more than their offer for timber.

“When Sabal Trail goes to jury trial, it loses,” said Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman.

Here are the winners, waiting in the hall before the jury came back:

Fred Jones, Lynn Lasseter, Jonathan Waters, Reese Waters
The winners: Fred Jones, Lynn Lasseter (Defendant), Jonathan Waters (attorney), Reese Waters (attorney’s assistant)

This jury verdict from the U.S. Court, Middle District of Georgia, is very similar to Continue reading

Sabal Trail Jury Trial in Valdosta, GA 2018-06-25

Update 2018-06-26: Cross examination starts at 9AM today in the Sabal Trail Jury Trial in Valdosta. John S. Quarterman went to the oral arguments yesterday afternoon.

Update 2018-06-25: Oral arguments start 1PM today in the Sabal Trail Jury Trial in Valdosta. Gretchen went to jury selection this morning, which wrapped up rapidly.

PDF flyer.

Maybe this will end up like the last jury trial, which didn’t go so well for Sabal Trail. Come see!

Photo by Mjrmtg on Wikimedia Commons of Federal Building, Valdosta, GA, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0. The date, case number, judge, and defendant, are from Attorney Jonathan P. Waters. Anything additional I have dug up.

When: 1PM, Monday, June 23, 2018, and may run all week.

Where: Continue reading

Judge rules Florida Amendment 1 funds must be used for land acquisition 2018-06-14

Acquiring lands in a springshed is one of the best ways to protect springs and rivers, and a judge just said the Florida legislature can’t divert funds from that purpose of Florida Amendment 1, which was passed by 75% of the people of Florida.

St. Johns Riverkeeper, blog, 14 June 2018, Legal Victory for Conservation Lands,

On June 15, 2018, Florida Circuit Judge Charles Dodson ruled in favor of environmental organizations that the land conservation constitutional amendment overwhelmingly approved by voters in 2014 requires funding to be used for land acquisition, restoration and management, not for other purposes.

Map of county vote ranges on Florida Amendment 1

Earthjustice, Joe Litte of Florida Defenders of the Environment and the plaintiff organizations— Continue reading

Phosphate mines on agenda, Gilchrist BOCC, 2018-06-18

Mike Roth, president of Our Santa Fe River, requests:

On Monday, June 18, at the Gilchrist County Board of County Commissioners meeting in Trenton which starts at 4PM, we will get the opportunity to appeal to the Board to issue a “letter of concern” regarding the phosphate mine applied for in Bradford and Union Counties. As you certainly know, OSFR has stood in opposition to this mine on the grounds that it is a substantial threat to the health of the Santa Fe River and to all those who live by the river and all those who use the river recreationally. Further, it threatens the aquifer that is recharged by the river and as such, anyone and anything that uses groundwater.

When: 4PM (hearing 4:45 PM), Monday, June 18, 2018

Where: Board of County Commissioners Meeting Facility,
210 South Main Street, Trenton, Florida

What: Letter of concern about HPS II Phosphate Mine in Bradford and Union Counties, Florida

Gilchrist County Commissioners from left to right: Sharon A. Langford, Kenrick Thomas, Todd Gray, D Ray Harrison, Jr., and Marion Poitevint
Gilchrist County Commissioners from left to right: Sharon A. Langford, Kenrick Thomas, Todd Gray, D Ray Harrison, Jr., and Marion Poitevint

Gilchrist County is downstream Continue reading

WWALS prepares to sue FERC for shirking LNG Export oversight

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Washington, D.C., June 13, 2018 — WWALS Watershed Coalition (WWALS) prepares to sue the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for shirking its legally-required oversight of inland liquid natural gas (LNG) terminals. “LNG trucks barrel down I-75 right by my old high school in Lowndes County, Georgia,” said Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman, after meeting with WWALS’ attorneys in Washington, D.C. “Those trucks from LNG terminals in Alabama and Georgia pass a technical college, a conference center, motels, homes, and businesses, going to I-10 for Jacksonville, Florida, where that LNG goes at least as far on ships as Puerto Rico.”

PDF flyer

Since the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in 2015 abdicated its jurisdictional duties under the Natural Gas Act to regulate the siting, construction, operation and maintenance of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) small-scale inland export facilities, instead these facilities operate with basically no Federal oversight.

“I am greatly concerned that an LNG commercial project of this magnitude is not only planned, but that apparently has slipped through the cracks of local and federal regulators,” said WWALS member Harriet Heywood of Citrus County, Florida.

At the ends of the Sabal Trail pipeline chain in Florida, trucks go out from half a dozen LNG export operations authorized by the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Fossil Energy (FE). If any of those trucks wrecks, federal standard everyone should be evacuated half a mile downwind, including high schools and hospitals. Very few local emergency responders know this and fewer have appropriate emergency plans.

 LNG Railcar Explosion, SE Cove Rd and SE Dixie Hwy, in Vulnerability of LNG by Rail, <br/>by Martin County Fire Rescue, December 15, 2015.” /></a><br />
LNG Railcar Explosion, SE Cove Rd and SE Dixie Hwy, in <a href=Vulnerability of LNG by Rail, by Martin County Fire Rescue, December 15, 2015.

“The unintended consequences of FERC’s abdication of Congressional jurisdictional authority are mind-boggling,” said WWALS member Cecile Scofield of Palm City, Martin County, Florida, “They include Continue reading

2017 Annual Progress Report and 2018 Estimates, Hamilton County Mining Ordinance 2018-05-15

Received May 27, 2018 from WWALS member Chris Mericle:

The Hamilton County BOCC finally at its last meeting (May 15) voted on the Nutrien 5 year permit renewal.

The BOCC voted to approve the permit with the modifications recommended by the environmental consultant and attorney.

[2,3,4,5 Draglines]

I consider this a win for us because it requires Nutrien to: Continue reading