Albany reporter objects to citizens asking a public official to represent them against the invading Sabal Trail pipeline

Thanks, Carlton Fletcher, for reminding the public the fight against Sabal Trail isn’t over! Come tell FERC what you think in Moultrie tonight, Valdosta Wednesday, or Lake City Thursday.

Asking our most local representatives to table or deny a motion threatening our Withlacoochee River and Okapilco Creek isn’t “magic”: it’s democracy. Maybe GA-DNR should publish contact information for its board members to make that easier. Meanwhile, David won against Goliath and we can too.

Carlton Fletcher, Albany Herald, 26 September 2015, CARLTON FLETCHER: Anti-pipeline letter steps over line: OPINION: Sinyard doesn’t deserve disrespect of pipeline foes,

We’re often swayed by those whose words are infused with passion. That’s why misplaced passion can be a dangerous thing.

Despite the presence of an ever-growing group of individuals whose self-proclaimed passion is little more than a cover for political ambition, there are those who are truly frightened about the looming construction of the 515-mile Sabal Trail natural gas pipeline. These people aren’t hard to recognize. They’re the ones who’ve worked tirelessly to prevent the project, who’ve paid lawyers to fight their battle in courts of law, who’ve conducted research and educated citizens about the dangers they feel are inherent with such a project.

It would be easy enough to write off an anti-pipeline letter that appeared in this newspaper’s Sept. 22 edition as misplaced passion. Attributed to Flint Riverkeeper Gordon Rogers, WWALS Watershed Association President John Quarterman and Sierra Club Georgia Chapter Vice Chair Mark Woodall, the letter, among other things, laid out a plan whereby former Dougherty County Commission Chairman Jeff Sinyard could magically — and singlehandedly — stop a vote on Sabal Trail easements being considered by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources board of directors.

Since when is it “magic” for a board to table or vote against an issue?

And who said anything about “singlehandedly”? WWALS continues to call on our more local DNR board member Mark Mobley and Sinyard and all the other DNR board members to do what they can: they are, after all, on the board that oversees all the state air and water permitting.

Fletcher makes a bunch more wild accusations that have nothing to do with what the subject letter actually said.

This Fletcher accusation is at least based in fact:

But they went so far as to include Sinyard’s work telephone number in their letter, urging citizens to call the businessman — who’s trying to make a living, for goodness’ sake — and tell him to “do the right thing.”

You know that? All of us are trying to make a living! And that invading pipeline from Houston is interfering with that.

Maybe DNR should publish contact information for its board members! Since they didn’t, it’s necessary to publish what contact information we can find. DNR did name the principal businesses of Sinyard and Mobley and the others, so the publicly-listed telephone numbers for those businesses are the obvious contact information to (re-)publish.

Not to mention WWALS, Georgia Sierra Club, SpectraBusters, and even FERC have published telephone numbers for the Governor, for specific DNR employees, for local, state, and federal elected and appointed officials, all in relation to this same pipeline. Why is Sinyard somehow special?

Remember to call Governor Nathan Deal’s office, Call 404-656-1776, or email him asking him to oppose the air quality permit for the Albany compressor station and to call a public hearing for water issues:

However, I do thank reporter Fletcher for mentioning WWALS in his op-ed, something he neglected to do in his report about the DNR vote (Albany Herald, 23 September 2015).

Sure, Carlton Fletcher, Sabal Trail has $3 billion. Or do they? I bet FPL hasn’t actually collected all that from its ratepayers yet, so it’s probably mostly borrowed. And the more investors and lenders see public opposition, the more likely they are to back out and leave Sabal Trail like Williams Company’s Bluegrass Pipeline in Kentucky last year: cancelled.

We Davids are many and the invading profiteer Goliaths are few. David can win against Goliath.

Come to Moultrie tonight, Valdosta tomorrow, and Lake City the day after to tell FERC (and the media and the public) what you think.

And please do some of the other things, not because they are hard or they are easy, but because it’s our water, land, and air.