Suwannee BOCC backs down against Sabal Trail 2015-12-10

Chairman Bashaw cited “economic impact” and backed down, according to Debra Johnson by telephone and Bridge broken at river and Carl McKinney on twitter. SBOCC meets again Tuesday evening, and people may want to tell them what they think about this.

Debra says Sessions also backed down, and one of them referred to natural gas as a “bridge fuel”, an old position Sierra Club abandoned years ago after realizing methane is a bridge to nowhere, because it is a worse greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. Apparently they talked to somebody named Evans (presumably Mark R. Evans) of the Army Corps Jacksonville office and somebody from Orlando, presumably a Sabal Trail contractor.

So after calling an emergency meeting and drafting an excellent letter the Suwannee County Board of Commissioners fell for misinformation from fracked methane proponents and backed down.

A bridge to nowhere: methane emissions and the greenhouse gas footprint of natural gas, by Robert W. Howarth, Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, Cornell University, in Energy Science & Engineering, April 2014, doi: 10.1002/ese3.35.

Using these new, best available data and a 20-year time period for comparing the warming potential of methane to carbon dioxide, the conclusion stands that both shale gas and conventional natural gas have a larger GHG than do coal or oil, for any possible use of natural gas and particularly for the primary uses of residential and commercial heating. The 20-year time period is appropriate because of the urgent need to reduce methane emissions over the coming 15—35 years.

We need to be reducing methane emissions, not adding to them by inviting a fracked methane pipeline into the Florida Springs Heartland through our sole-source drinking water Floridan Aquifer, and under the Outstanding Florida Water Suwannee River.

There are more people employed by the U.S. solar industry than in production and nonsupervisory oil and gas extraction. The potential economic benefits of solar panels on home and business roofs and of solar farms in Suwannee County is far greater than any alleged benefits of a pipeline, which would instead devalue the property it passed through.

And let’s not forget Kinder Morgan has already applied to FERC for another pipeline, to connect from Sabal Trail in Suwannee County to Jacksonville, which is gearing up for liquid natural gas (LNG) export. So any significant economic benefits would be profits for the pipeline companies (Spectra and KMI) and the LNG exporters, at the expense of the people and businesses of Suwannee County.

Solar power would instead bring jobs and reduce electric bills, and do it faster, cheaper, far cleaner, without risking the aquifer or the rivers, and without any eminent domain. Georgia already is the fastest growing U.S. solar market. Florida will have a constitutional amendment on the next ballot like the law that Georgia passed this year facilitating solar financing. Florida is poised to join the fast-growing future of solar power. Pipelines are broken bridges back to the 20th century.

Suwannee BOCC still has a regular session scheduled for Tuesday, December 15th. Suwannee County residents and landowners may want to contact SBOCC before then, and many people may want to attend.


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