Category Archives: FERC

Strom LNG reports late to FE: reverse merger expected 2020-11-01

Apparently Strom Inc. of the long-touted future LNG export operation in Crystal River, Florida, thinks some public company is so desperate for cash that it will let Strom take over its board for money.

“Additionally, Strom, Inc. is actively in early stage negotiations with a third-party entity regarding a reverse-merger and anticipate filing a report upon completion.”

What money? From a “term-sheet agreement” from un-named financiers that Strom has been claiming since at least April 2020. Lots of big talk, little LNG export action. Which is good news for Crystal River and Tampa, since the most likely export route for Strom would be by truck to Port of Tampa.

[Report, Map]
Report, Map

Strom also has big plans for exporting to “China, Latin America, and several Caribbean countries.”

“Specifically, Strom has received specific interest from LNG users in the Bahamas, China, Belize, Panama, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Honduras and is pursuing all qualified leads. These requests for LNG will far exceed Strom’s authorized capacity, and we will explore our options as we execute agreements. In accordance with Ordering Paragraph D of the Order, Strom will file any such long—term contracts with the DOE/FE following their execution.”

Specifically, interest is not a contract.

This is interesting:

“Strom has secured certain preliminary agreements for equipment and has selected AECOM to fill the role of our EPCM for the Project. AECOM is well versed in Oil and Gas and has been involved in a myriad of FERC approved Oil and Gas projects.”

Yes, AECOM was involved in for instance Elba Island LNG in Georgia.

But Strom LNG in Crystal River, FL, is not a FERC-approved project. Back in 2014 when Strom still planned to locate in Starke, FL, Strom filed with FERC for a Notice of Petition for Declaratory Order re Strom, Inc. under CP14-121. But FERC dismissed that request for lack of fee payment. No other FERC docket for Strom has appeared, so apparently Strom has neither FERC approval nor a declaratory order for Strom’s “mobile liquefaction unit be eligible to export LNG with exemption from FERC’s jurisdiction under the Natural Gas Act.”

As usual, Strom’s report was late. At least, unlike most of its earlier reports, it arrived before a WWALS member had to ask FE where it was.

Strom, Inc., Semi-Annual Report for October 2020

Here’s is Strom’s report, for FE Docket # 14-56-LNG, Order No. 3537. See also the PDF. Continue reading

Extended two weeks: WWALS FOIA to FERC on NFE Miami LNG export 2020-11-23

At 5:46 PM on their last day, FERC did respond to our FOIA about the NFE Miami LNG facility. But only to say FERC is self-extending its deadline another two weeks. It’s already eight weeks since our initial FOIA about that Miami facility, which FERC confused with Puerto Rico. What’s taking so long, FERC?

FERC’s excuse? “We have determined that in order to respond to your request, Commission staff must consult with other components of the agency having substantial subject-matter interest therein.”

[NFE operations, FERC needs to consult]
NFE operations, FERC needs to consult

Well, if the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) can’t find a SHOW CAUSE ORDER to New Fortress Energy about NFE’s Miami LNG facility, apparently there is no such ORDER, because according to a law FERC cited in its latest response, any ORDERs that exist must be published electronically for everyone to see.

So what is FERC having such a hard time finding? Maybe a “PETITION FOR DECLARATORY ORDER filed by New Fortress Energy, Miami, Florida”? Maybe because none was ever filed? Or maybe records of meetings or correspondance between FERC and NFE about the Miami facility?

It’s already been eight weeks since our initial FOIA, six weeks after we sent an expanded FOIA, four weeks after FERC “accepted” that FOIA, and more than two weeks after FERC informed WWALS of that “acceptance.” Why the delaying tactics, FERC?

Here’s a timeline so far: Continue reading

Accepted: WWALS FOIA to FERC on NFE Miami LNG export 2020-11-05

Update 2020-11-24: Extended two weeks: WWALS FOIA to FERC on NFE Miami LNG export 2020-11-23.

More than three weeks after we sent it, FERC acknowledged that the WWALS FOIA about the Miami LNG facility was “accepted” two weeks earlier, more than a week after we sent it.

We shall see whether the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has learned that Miami is not Puerto Rico. And whether FERC will follow the precedent it sent about Puerto Rico and send New Fortress Energy (NFE) a SHOW CAUSE Order for why NFE did not send a “Petition for Declaratory Orders” about the NFE Miami LNG facility. FERC has the power to shut down an LNG facility after the fact, for not following the law.

Meanwhile, FERC did not just refuse the FOIA request on its flimsy grounds of “non-jurisdiction.” See the WWALS FOIA request for more about that.

[FERC 404]
FERC 404
What you get if you follow the FOIA Public Liaison’s link to FERC’s FOIA request submission page.

Here is the “accepted” email: Continue reading

FOIA to FERC on NFE Miami LNG export, not Puerto Rico 2020-09-28

Update 2020-11-09: FERC “accepted” our FOIA request a week later, and got around to telling us two more weeks later.

FERC can’t seem to tell Miami from Puerto Rico. So we’ve reminded them, and we’re waiting for a response to our second FOIA about NFE’s Miami LNG operation. Two weeks we’ve been waiting.

[Miami, not Puerto Rico]
Miami, not Puerto Rico

Meanwhile, I went and voted for some people who, if elected, might help make the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) accountable. You can, too. As an IRS 501(c)(3) nonprofit environmental charity, WWALS cannot tell you who to vote for. But we can ask you to go vote for people who will stop LNG and stop this sort of bureaucratic runaround.

Seeing FERC’s SHOW CAUSE order to New Fortress Energy (NFE) about NFE’s Puerto Rico Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) operations, we sent FERC a FOIA about any SHOW CAUSE from FERC or PETITION FOR DECLARATORY ORDER from NFE about NFE’s Miami LNG facility, which has been operational for years now with no authorization from FERC and not even a FERC docket.

FERC answered the same day, pointing us to the Puerto Rico SHOW CAUSE. We can only guess they didn’t bother to read as far as the word “Miami” in the Re: header of our September 28, 2020, FOIA letter.

Date: Mon, Sep 28, 2020 at 2:28 PM
Subject: FOLLOW UP – John Quarterman – PETITION FOR DECLARATORY ORDER – SHOW CAUSE ORDER – filed by New Fortress Energy, Miami, Florida

John Quarterman

Please be advised Continue reading

The illusion of pipeline invincibility is shattered –WWALS Brief to FERC in Sabal Trail Rehearing

Let’s cut to the chase in the letter we filed with FERC yesterday:

11. Historic new circumstances add up

The sun never set on the British Empire. Until it did.

No one circumstance ended that Empire, but it is easy to point at major events that accelerated its demise, such as the independence of India and the Suez Incident. Its fall started after the illusion of its invincibility was shattered by Gandhi’s campaign of civil disobedience and other events such as World War II.

The illusion of invincibility of the inland colonial empire of pipelines has been shattered by recent court orders about the ACP, DAPL, and others, and especially by the shut down of the Dakota Access Pipeline and the shuttering of the Constitution Pipeline and the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. All of those pipelines were expected to be built, and DAPL actually was built before being ordered to shut down and empty. Now the world knows that pipelines are not inevitable.

All these pipeline projects, like Sabal Trail, were opposed by nonviolent protests and political and legal actions. All those methods of opposition, combined with the sea-change in progress to renewable energy, eventually added up to a new and significantly different world than that in which Sabal Trail was permitted or re-permitted.

The shut down of DAPL and the abandonment of ACP as well as the court rejection of tolling orders make it a new world even since FERC’s June 19, 2020, Order granting a rehearing on Sierra Club’s motion.

FERC should initiate a new [Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement] EIS that should take into account Sabal Trail’s own track record of leaks and sinkholes, as well as leaks and accidents from [Liquid Natural Gas] LNG export and LNG transport in rail cars, the speeding demise of fossil fuels as evidenced by record low LNG export prices and bankruptcies of frackers, the court rejections of DAPL, ACP, and tolling orders and how much of Sabal Trail could never have been built through environmental justice communities without tolling orders, the coronavirus pandemic, and the rapid rise of renewable solar, wind, and battery power as evidenced by FPL and Sabal Trail partners Duke and NextEra, as well as by FERC’s own numbers. All of those new and significant circumstances make pipelines such as Sabal Trail toxic stranded assets, dangerous to the bank accounts of their investors, as well as to the environment, justice, and human health.

Conclusion

For the reasons stated above, WWALS asks FERC to grant Sierra Club’s motion for stay of the Commission’s letter order of April 22, 2020, to halt Sabal Trail Phase II, and to commence a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) taking into account all of the above new and significant circumstances.

[Third-party inspection, recission, stay, SEIS]
Third-party inspection, recission, stay, SEIS

For those who are not familiar with tolling orders, they are basically how, after the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) gives federal eminent domain to a private pipeline company, FERC lets that pipeline company take land before any payment to the landowner or even any agreement is reached. Without tolling orders, it’s not clear the FERC will ever get another pipeline built.

Here’s a longer explanation. Continue reading

FERC rejects NERA petition for FERC control of solar net metering 2020-07-16

FERC did the right thing! All four FERC Commissioners voted to dismiss a petition to have FERC take over from states decisions on rates utilities pay for rooftop solar electricity.

It’s true they dismissed it on procedural grounds without much addressing the substance of the matter, and that may lead to assorted District Court decisions, as one of the concurring Commissioners noted. But dismissing it for any reason is much better than granting the petition.

It just goes to show even the most regulatorily-captured agency can be right occasionally.

[Photo: Carl Howe, 335W SunPower solar panels in Massachusetts, 28 February 2014]
Photo: Carl Howe, 335W SunPower solar panels in Massachusetts, 28 February 2014

FERC Dismissal of NERA Petition

FERC Accession Number: 20200716-3099, Order Dismissing Petition for Declaratory Order re New England Ratepayers Association under EL20-42. Commissioner McNamee is concurring with a separate statement attached. Commissioner Danly is concurring with a separate statement attached.; see PDF.

WWALS Motion to Intervene and to Deny

Among the almost 50,000 comments on FERC Docket No. EL20-42-000, seven organizations filed to intervene with “motions to dismiss or deny.” WWALS was one of those seven, with FERC Accession Number: 20200615-5329, Motion to Intervene, Comments and Motion to Deny by WWALS Watershed Coalition, Inc. under EL20-42; see PDF.

We never published the WWALS motion comment, so here it is. Continue reading

Deadline today: tell FERC hands off solar net metering

A New England group has asked FERC to revoke solar reimbursement plans (“net metering”). This affects all the U.S. If the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) agrees, what would affect every rooftop and community solar installation, treating them all like large-scale industrial solar plants. FERC would be in charge of what, if anything, solar panel owners get reimbursed for electricity beyond what they use locally.

You can comment through this convenient web form.

Or use FERC’s efiling system, for FERC Docket No. EL20-42.

Old and new panels
Photo: John S. Quarterman, 2012-01-29.

More information:

Thanks to WWALS member Maxine Connor for the heads-up.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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

Sabal Trail still below gas capacity 2020-04-26

Almost two years after starting to push gas, Sabal Trail still isn’t using all it’s already authorized for, so why does it need Phase II? Why are we still wasting money, water, and air on pipelines when solar panels long ago could have provided more electricity, faster, cheaper, and with no emissions and no eminent domain?

[Operational Capacity 2020-04-26-0900]
Operational Capacity 2020-04-26-0900
Map and data from FERC-required Sabal Trail Informational Postings.

If the point of the Phase II Albany, GA, and Dunnellon, FL, Compressor Stations is to pipe more gas to the Reunion Compressor Station, somebody should tell Sabal Trail the Mouse is closed due to pandemic.

Looks like Sabal Trail’s deliveries got stuck in April. Continue reading

Industry press: WWALS and Sierra Club oppose FERC rubberstamp of Sabal Trail compressor stations 2020-04-23

Sabal Trail is no exception to widespread pipeline opposition, notes a prominent fossil fuel industry publication, especially for the recent decision by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to authorize operation of Sabal Trail’s Phase II Albany, GA, compressor station during a virus pandemic. Neither Platts nor the AJC noted the Dunnellon, FL, compressor station was also authorized in Phase II, even though that site already leaked before station construction started.

[Platts: Sabal Trail Phase II Compressor Stations]
Platts: Sabal Trail Phase II Compressor Stations, from FERC Sabal Trail Final Environmental Impact Statement.

Maya Weber, Joe Fisher ed., S&P Global Platts, 2020-04-23, Sabal Trail gets FERC OK to start compression, over green group objections.

The article first rehearses Sabal Trail’s request for a six-month extension and about-face request for immediate operations, which FERC rubberstamped. You can read about that in more detail in the previous WWALS blog post. That post also has details of the WWALS and Sierra Club objections that the Platts article then notes.

[Site Plan]
Site Plan
PDF

Urging denial

Sierra Club and WWALS Watershed Coalition in recent weeks urged FERC to deny the request in separate filings.

“The Albany compressor station would increase air pollution—which has been linked to higher coronavirus death rates—in a predominantly African American community that has ‘one of the highest infection rates in the country,'” wrote Sierra Club attorney Elly Benson in an April 13 letter to FERC, citing news articles. “Now is not the time to needlessly increase the pollution burden on an environmental justice community that is particularly vulnerable to these threats.” She said 84% of residents within a half-mile radius of the Albany facility are African American.

[Aerial]
Aerial
PDF

But here’s a name we haven’t seen in a while.

Andrea Grover, Continue reading

On Earth Day, FERC approved Sabal Trail Albany, GA, and Dunnellon, FL, compressor stations 2020-04-22

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

FERC on Earth Day rubberstamped Sabal Trail pipeline compressor stations in Georgia virus hotspot and Florida location that already leaked

Hahira, Georgia, April 23, 2020 — “What better way to say they don’t care, than to do this on Earth Day?” said Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman, “The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) broke out its rubberstamp during a virus pandemic, ignoring its own process, as well as all the comments and our motion against, to approve turning on two compressor stations, including one in Albany, Georgia, which is the Georgia city worst-affected by the virus, and another at a site near Dunnellon, Florida, which already leaked multiple times even before construction started.”

[Project Location Map]
Project Location Map

Methane from fracking is not more important to push through a Sabal Trail pipeline than the health of local people or even Sabal Trail’s own workers.

Compressor Station from FL 200
Photo: WCJB, of Sabal Trail Dunnellon Compressor Station after leak, 2017-08-11.

Quarterman added, “With the price of oil negative and “natural” gas down 40%, it’s time to ask investors if they want to go down with the fossil fuel ship of fools and time to ask politicians if they want this to be their legacy.”

Only four weeks before the FERC approval letter, FERC opened a comment period on a request by Sabal Trail for six more months to finish these same facilities, in which Sabal Trail cited the virus pandemic as a reason. Contradicting its own request, and during that two-week period, Sabal Trail asked FERC to go ahead and approve turning on both compressor stations, which must involve Sabal Trail workers working during pandemic conditions.

FERC did not even mention that WWALS Watershed Coalition (WWALS) had moved to deny, nor any of the numerous other comments against turning on the compressor stations.

For that comment period, FERC required organizations to file again to be Intervenors, and only organizations that were already Intervenors on the process of the underlying FERC docket could do that. The only one to do that was Suwannee Riverkeeper for WWALS (see PDF). WWALS also filed a motion to halt Sabal Trail’s Phase II (which is mostly these two compressor stations), to deny Sabal Trail’s request to turn the compressor stations on, and to invoke penalties for already being two years late (see PDF). WWALS reasons to deny included repeated previous leaks at the Dunnellon Compressor Station of hazardous Mercaptan odorant, as well as leaks of methane at the Hildreth Compressor Station in Suwannee County, Florida, plus sinkholes at the Flint River near the Albany Compressor Station, the virus pandemic, and Sabal Trail gas going to private profit through Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) export, making a mockery of local landowners having to give up easements through federal eminent domain supposedly for the public good of the United States.

WWALS also noted that the only “justification” for Sabal Trail was alleged “market need,” and there was none any more, since oil and gas prices had dropped through the floor. Since then, oil prices actually went negative for the first time in history, and natural gas prices are down more than 40% from only six months ago.

FERC did not address the concerns raised by Our Santa Fe River (OSFR) about leaks, breach of commitment, and endangering commmunities Continue reading