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 when the pipeline company will profit forever just? Especially when, by the Sabal Trail’s own appraiser’s estimate, the pipeline company took 85% of the rights for that easement, so while in principle the developer can still build a subdivision on that property, he can’t even build a road across that easement without the pipeline company’s permission.

All this for a $4 billion boondoggle to cash out before the entire fossil fuel industry goes belly-up. The customers of Florida Power and Light (FPL) are footing that $4 bill. Meanwhile, FPL’s parent company, NextEra Energy, bragged at length in its Q1 2017 Earnings Call this January about being a world leader in sun and wind power, while mentining Sabal Trail in only one paragraph. In its Q1 2018 Earnings Call, NextEra didn’t even mention Sabal Trail. Both FPL and Duke Energy, another Sabal Trail partner, are building solar farms all over Florida, as Southern Company has been doing in Georgia for years now. Coal is dead, natural gas is next, and sun and wind power with batteries have already won.

NextEra quarterly earnings call

Scott James asked yesterday if I could appear on his show 7AM this morning, so there was not time for an announcement. Instead, here’s the video of a quite long interview, including additional material between the two on-air segments.

Here’s the video:

Landowner wins over Sabal Trail in jury trial, jsq on Scott James radio 2018-06-29
Video by John S. Quarterman for WWALS Watershed Coalition (WWALS).

Jim the intern asked me who funds the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)?

Who funds FERC, asks Jim

scratched his head over being about as federal as the Federal Reserve, bragging in its budget request every year about paying back 100% of its Congressional allocation from fees and charges on the same industries it supposedly “regulates”.

Jim scratching head over FERC fees and charges

“Full Cost Recovery in FERC Fiscal Year 2019 Congressional Performance Budget Request:

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC or the Commission) recovers the full cost of its operations through an – nual charges and filing fees assessed on the industries it regulates as authorized by the Federal Power Act (FPA) and the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1986. The Commission deposits this revenue into the Treasury as a direct offset to its appropriation, resulting in a net appropriation of zero.

Jim said that sounds like bribery. I said I prefered not to use the B word; I prefer the C word: corruption. A politer term is regulatory capture, but FERC’s funding is sure a recipe for regulatory capture; legalized corruption.

FERC quote regulates the companies that fund it

Scott asked me about the pipelines on my property. We discussed that a bit, and I pointed out many people probably think Sabal Trail doesn’t affect them because it doesn’t go through their property. But if they drive down I-75, liquid natural gas (LNG) does. Pivotal LNG (now owned by Southern Company) has three liquefaction plants in Georgia and one in Alabama, all with contracts to send LNG to Jacksonville, Florida by truck. The most obvious route is down I-75 past Lowndes High School where I went to school and past Wiregrass Tech.

Pivotal LNG down I-75 from Georgia to Jacksonville, FL

“And past me, driving on I-75!” added Scott. Yes, and I have pictures of an LNG tanker turning from I-75 onto I-10.

1 Mile, I-75 Exit 435 for I-10 Jacksonville Tallahassee
LNG truck turning from I-75 onto I-10 for Jacksonville.

So while all the pipeline companies claim they have to do pipelines or trucks will be used, trucks are being used right now. And two LNG export facilities, Strom, Inc. in Crystal River, Florida, and Floridian LNG (FLiNG) in Indiantown next to Lake Okeechobee, will get their gas from Sabal Trail if they’re built.

On roads in Alabama, Georgia, and Florida, LNG and ports
Map by WWALS of LNG terminals in Alabama, Georgia, and Florida, with likely truck routes.

I noted we are lawyered up to sue FERC for shirking its LNG oversight duty, ready to go as soon as we raise enough funds.

Scott said he and family had recently paddled from Red Roberts Landing down to Reed Bingham State Park Lake. I invited him to next year’s BIG Little River Paddle Race. He said he would come. I reminded him don’t pet the alligators, and they won’t bother you.

Don’t pet the alligators and they won’t bother you

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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

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

  1. Terre

    And it isn’t proven to be in the ‘public good’ either. In fact an administrator at FERC told me that if they were told it was for export it would not meet the standard.

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