Sabal Trail risks drinking water –Gordon Rogers in Georgia Sierran

Apparently fracked methane is Sierra Club Georgia’s next fight now that Keystone XL is dead, since almost its entire January/February/March issue of Georgia Sierran is about opposing natural gas: PDF.

See for example “Why Natural Gas Is Not a Climate Solution”, by Joshua Hanthorn. And “LNG Puts Savannah at Risk”, by Karen Grainey and Stacey Kronquest. Karen is chair of the Coastal Group of Sierra Club Georgia. Pretty much everything in that article also applies to Jacksonville, and quite likely to Palm Beach and other locations in Florida very soon.

Mentioning WWALS is “Pipeline in Southwest Georgia and Central Florida Risks Drinking Water,” by Gordon Rogers, Flint Riverkeeper,

001 The Sabal Pipeline, a joint venture of Spectra Energy, Duke Energy, and NextEra Energy, poses threats to Georgia and Florida communities on multiple fronts. For southwest Georgia and north Florida residents it’s all risks and no rewards. However, so far federal and state authorities have thus far been unmoved by arguments against it.

During the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) public comment period, the agency received more than 1,000 written comments, mostly opposing the project, including resolutions against it from seven counties in Georgia and Florida, and three of the largest cities in its path (Albany, Moultrie and Valdosta).

The article talks about FERC’s FEIS, EPA, GA-EPD, and other matters, before turning to WWALS and Florida.

The WWALS Watershed Coalition, representing the Waterkeeper affiliate for the Withlacoochee, Willacoochee, Alapaha, Little and upper Suwannee River watersheds, filed suit and recently completed court proceedings challenging the legality of the FDEP permit on environmental grounds. The presiding judge did not side with WWALS, recommending FDEP move forward with the permit. WWALS and their attorneys are examining an appeal. Sabal Trail wants to drill under Okapilco and many other creeks in Georgia, plus the Withlacoochee, Flint and Chattahoochee rivers in Georgia, in addition to Florida’s Suwannee. The Sierra Club Florida Chapter contributed to the WWALS legal fund for their case, following up on the March 2014 joint resolution against Sabal Trail by the Florida, Georgia and Alabama Chapters. Save Our Suwannee also contributed financially, while Our Santa Fe River, Suwannee Alliance for Sustainable Growth and SpectraBusters assisted in other ways, such as by finding witnesses. Without the permit, Sabal Trail cannot drill under the Suwannee River. FDEP cannot issue the permit until this legal case is resolved, and there will almost certainly be an appeal.

After discussing Florida Sierra Club’s emergency request to EPA to designate the Floridan as a sole-source aquifer, the article gets to perhaps the most important part:

Support the Legal Fight Against the Pipeline. The Georgia Chapter of the Sierra Club has joined together with private landowners including the Kiokee-Flint Group of Dougherty County, as well as Flint Riverkeeper®, Chattahoochee Riverkeeper® and their attorneys, coordinated by Steve Caley of GreenLaw. This team, along with independent actions by WWALS and Sierra Club Florida, are opposing what has come to be called the “Sinkhole Trail” on every legal and public front available. Financial support of these efforts is critical. Choose your group and write them a check. If you are in a position to do so, choose them all.

Contact Governor Nathan Deal’s office about your opposition to the air permit and to the creek and river crossing easements:

The Honorable Nathan Deal
Office of the Governor
206 Washington Street
111 State Capitol
Atlanta, Georgia 30334

Contact your Representative in the Georgia House and ask her or him to help the southwest Georgia delegation reverse the easements that Governor Deal’s Department of Natural Resources has recommended to issue.

The number of opponent groups and inviduals has increased even since Gordon wrote that article.

Finally, “The Acquisition of AGL Resources by Southern Company: A Perspective” by Sam Collier, is very important, because it explains how Southern Company’s purchase of AGL, a pipeline company, could be the path to getting all of us off of natural gas. Sam has been going to those SO stockholder meetings for a dozen years; I’ve been going for several years. After this last one, last May, when SO chair Tom Fanning announced SO would start selling rooftop solar panels in July, and Fanning had just that morning signed a deal with Tesla for solar storage batteries, it seemed as if SO had adopted almost everything we’d been asking them for. This is testimony that even the second-biggest electrical utility in the country can suddenly turn to the sun. And I guess Sam has found the next thing to ask them for.

Thanks to Sam, Gordon, Karen, and all, especially Colleen Kiernan, Sierra Club Georgia Executive Director, for commissioning this issue. And thanks to Maryvonne Devensky, Chair of Suwannee-St. Johns Group of the Florida Sierra Club Chapter, and others with Florida Sierra Club for ramping up activity in Florida. As the Florida, Georgia, and Alabama chapters of Sierra Club said in March 2014, Florida doesn’t need another pipeline; it needs energy efficiency and solar power. Since then Stanford Professor Mark Z. Jacobson’s research group has spelled out how to power each and every U.S. state with sun, wind, and water power by 2050, with most of that done by 2025.

No new pipelines! Let the sun rise.


You can join this fun and work by becoming a WWALS member today!

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  1. Pingback: Florida Petition against Sabal Trail fracked methane pipeline | WWALS Watershed Coalition

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