Monthly Archives: December 2015

WWALS exceptions to judge’s recommended order in WWALS v. Sabal Trail & FDEP

Who could achieve standing or win a case with these criteria?

The judge’s Recommended Order applied the wrong standard as to whether the pipeline is in the public interest (Exception 25), applied an incorrect standard of proof (Exception 16), ignored the additional protections due the Outstanding Florida Waters of the Suwannee and Santa Fe Rivers (Exception 17), and ignored evidence that the granting of a Sovereign Submerged Lands Easement would adversely affect the lands under those rivers (Exception 19), not to mention the Floridan Aquifer.

In alleging WWALS does not have standing, the judge ignored a case previously cited by FDEP (Exception 23), and added an unprecedented factor of “potential injury” that would prevent associations from ever achieving standing unless they could prove the ultimate facts of the case (Exception 14).

Did the judge really mean to imply FDEP’s and Sabal Trail’s own witnesses were not competent when they upon questioning provided testimony that FDEP failed to acquire reasonable assurances that the issuance of an environmental resource permit and easement on sovereign submerged lands would not be contrary to the “public interest” (Exception 15)? If those public servants’ testimony wasn’t competent, how can those same personnel be competent to evaluate permit applications?

These are just a few of the 25 exceptions filed Monday 28 December 2015 by WWALS Counsel William R. Wohlsifer and Leighanne C. Boone. See also the WWALS video of Attorney Wohlsifer’s concluding statement in the hearing.

Here is PDF of the judge’s Recommended Order and PDF of the WWALS Exceptions. Below is the text of those exceptions. Continue reading

Staten Road Bridge, Withlacoochee River

About 7 miles north of the Lowndes County Courthouse in Valdosta, Georgia, Looking back 30.9328365, -83.2886352 you can get to the Withlacoochee River at the new(-ish) Staten Road Bridge, 30.9324760, -83.2883453. This is at Mile 73.3 on the Withlacoochee River Water Trail.

From Valdosta, go north up Oak Street until Continue reading

Suwannee County Commissioners lack resolve against Sabal Trail –Lori McCraney in Suwannee Democrat

“Apparently, rural lives matter less than urban lives,” she wrote, giving reasons why county commissions such as in Suwannee County should represent their citizens, not pipeline companies from somewhere else.

Speaking to the Suwannee Board of County Commissioners
Lori McCraney speaking to the Suwannee Board of County Commissioners 17 November 2015.

She sent the whole thing directly, so here it is (I’ve added a few links), along with a link to where it’s published. Lori McCraney, Suwannee Democrat, 24 December 2015, Opinion: Suwannee County commissioners lack resolve against Sabal Trail,

The Suwannee County Commissioners held an emergency meeting earlier this month to finalize a strongly worded letter to the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers opposing the Sabal Trail natural gas pipeline. I am puzzled as to why its contents was, apparently, a surprise to several board members. The commissioners inexplicably reversed their stance and did not approve the letter. Who got to them in the 24 hours leading up to the meeting?

Continue reading

Waterkeeper Annual Report

Cover Here’s a glimpse of the sea in which WWALS this year became a minnow: the Annual Report of Waterkeeper® Alliance, which has 258 members and affiliates (like WWALS) in 33 countries.

Our coastal Georgia siblings, Savannah Riverkeeper, Ogeechee Riverkeeper, Altamaha Riverkeeper, and Satilla Riverkeeper, are mentioned on page 22 as “beat back Kinder Morgan pipeline”. St Johns Riverkeeper of Jacksonville, Florida was also involved in that.

Waterkeeper and numerous Riverkeepers have also been helping in the fight against the Sabal Trail fracked methane pipeline, as well as with numerous other matters WWALS is involved in. Continue reading

Swift Creek confluence with Suwannee River

Chris Mericle took this picture today, 20 December 2015, Map of Swift Creek entering the Suwannee River, just east of I-75, in the Swift Creek Conservation Area, in Hamilton County, Florida, at 30.3460222, -82.8268667. -jsq

Confluence with Suwannee River

FERC, EPA rubberstamp Sabal Trail fracked methane pipeline: opposition continues –VDT

The FERC FEIS isn’t a permit, the Army Corps hasn’t issued a permit, GA-EPD is still considering an air quality permit for the Albany, GA air compressor, and it’s still possible to stop the GA-DNR easements for drilling under Georgia rivers including the Withlacoochee and Okapilco Creek. This is all regardless of whether FDEP issues its drilling permit for the Suwannee and Santa Fe Rivers. You can still help stop this invasion by the “Sinkhole Trail” of our local lands, water, and air.

Among the press recently by Politico, Law360, Natural Gas Intelligence, the Suwannee Democrat, the Ocala StarBanner, the Palm Beach Post, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Valdosta Today, and others, is this long local piece. Joe Adgie, Valdosta Daily Times, 20 December 2015, EPA reverses stand on impact pipeline would have on aquifer,

In addition, according to FERC, Sabal completed analysis of the subsurfaces where the pipeline is proposed.

That’s what FERC’s announcement of its Final Environmental Impact Statment (FEIS) said, but where is the LiDAR, as Continue reading

EPA stepped back, while opposition ramps up against Sabal Trail fracked methane pipeline


EPA stepped back, while opposition ramps up against Sabal Trail fracked methane pipeline

Hahira and Albany, Georgia, December 18, 2015— (PDF) Mysteriously contradicting a substantive October letter from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 4 in Atlanta, a different EPA branch last Friday sent a brief and sketchy letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers uncritically accepting what Sabal Trail’s attorney’s told it, even as multiple environmental and landowner organizations filed objections with the Corps and multiple state agencies against that invading natural gas pipeline.

“I smell a skunk,” said Frank Jackalone, senior organizing manager, Sierra Club of Florida.

Tim Carroll, Valdosta City Council member, said, “I don’t understand how EPA and FERC can say there will not be a negative impact on our environment, aquifer, streams and rivers. A number of experts testified and spoke up saying the likelihood is very high that there could be damage to the aquifer and the environment. Why would we want to allow this to happen, to run the risk of seriously degrading one of the best water resources in the world.,” Valdosta, Moultrie, and Albany, the three biggest cities along the pipeline path in Georgia, all passed resolutions against Sabal Trail, as did the counties of Terrell, Dougherty, Colquitt, Brooks, and Lowndes, in Georgia, and Hamilton and Suwannee Counties in Florida.

“The one government agency actually defending our drinking in the Floridan Aquifer and the many rivers in Georgia and Florida just stifled itself,” Continue reading

Satilla River Water Trail in Brunswick News

WWALS is pleased to see our neighbors to the east following suit and working toward establishing a water trail like the Alapaha River Water Trail (ARWT). With time, the beautiful blackwater rivers of the coastal plains may become a paddling destination of choice for northern paddlers looking for a pleasant and scenic place to paddle in winter and for locals wishing to reconnect with their regional natural heritage.

-Bret Wagenhorst, WWALS board member

And don’t forget the logo contest for the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail (WLRWT), with prizes to be announced at the WLRWT workshop February 27th at VSU.

Gordon Jackson, Brunswick News, 10 Decewmber 2015, Support growing for Water trail along Satilla,

WOODBINE — Organizers believe a proposed 175-mile water trail on the Satilla River could help Southeast Georgia meet the growing demand for outdoor recreation activities.

The Satilla River Water Trail would stretch from Pierce County to Camden County, with public access points with boat launches and highway bridge crossings.

The Camden County Commission joined a long list of municipalities from Pierce, Ware, Brantley and Charlton counties to express support for creating a water trail. They hope to take advantage of the growing demand for outdoor recreation activities in the state. There are more than 1 million paddlers in Georgia, and more than $23 billion is spent Continue reading