Category Archives: Law

Paused, not stopped: Northern Turnpike Extension toll road 2022-08-05

Two more versions of what’s happening to the toll road project: “paused” until they come up with options to “address concerns” or “include” concerns.

[FDOT PR, NTE Project Update, Study Area]
FDOT PR, NTE Project Update, Study Area

There is nothing about satisfying community concerns. There is a statement that they will “continue to refine and develop viable corridor concepts for this area”. They’re going to write a report despite this “pause”, and sooner or later they will plow ahead. Nevermind no need for any of those alternative routes has ever been established. Watch for that Report so you can comment No Build.

This pause is just a feint because of all the community objections thus far. Don’t let this pause cool your objections. More toll roads means more clearcutting and runoff, more pollution from that runoff, more development and more water withdrawals, lower levels in the Floridan Aquifer, rivers, and springs. And all that traffic is aimed up US 19 across the Suwannee River to Madison County. Water is more important than profit for developers and toll road builders.

FDOT and NTE say they will Continue reading

Florida scraps proposed toll road routes for I-75 and others 2022-08-03

Update 2022-08-05: Paused, not stopped: Northern Turnpike Extension toll road 2022-08-05.

It’s good news, but watch out: “Instead, FDOT will look at making improvements along Interstate 75 and possibly other corridors to relieve traffic congestion.”

[No four routes]
No four routes

Nobody has ever demonstrated any need for such a toll road, or for these I-75 “and possibly other” road expansions. The M-CORES committee deliberated for a long time and reported no need. The succeeding plan for four potential routes from Wildwood to US 19 did not dispute that lack of need, but plowed ahead anyway. FDOT said the legislature said (in SB 100) that the Northern Turnpike Extension was “in the strategic interest,” yet the new process would determine a need. It did not.

Instead, Continue reading

FERC Requests Comments on Rulemaking for small inland LNG export facilities

Hahira Georgia, July 26, 2022 — At the request of WWALS Watershed Coalition, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has opened a process that could correct its mistakes of eight years ago when it disclaimed oversight of dangerous compressed methane export facilities as long as they did not load directly onto ocean-going ships. Those decisions produced environmental, safety, and economic problems. The request provides FERC with an opportunity to “revisit” and “revise” those old decisions, as FERC Chair Richard Glick has recommended.

LNG tanker truck, Southbound I-75, 2018-03-26; Photo John S. Quarterman
LNG tanker truck, Southbound I-75, 2018-03-26; Photo John S. Quarterman

Anyone can comment and organizations can intervene on this new FERC docket for potential Rulemaking on Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) export. The deadline is September 20, 2022. That’s Docket RM22-21 on ferc.gov. Detailed instructions are below.

Please also contact your state and national elected officials and ask them to ask FERC to resume its oversight.

The Introduction of the Petition lays out the problem we want to get solved: Continue reading

FERC requests comments on WWALS Petition for Rulemaking on FERC Oversight of Small-Scale Inland LNG Export Facilities 2022-07-22

Update 2022-07-26: Press release, FERC Requests Comments on Rulemaking for small inland LNG export facilities.

FERC has created a docket for our petition and has filed in it a notice requesting comments by September 20, 2022.

[Notice and map]
Notice and map

Interested parties can file in that docket RM22-21 to intervene and then file comments and motions.

Also on Friday, FERC asked if we wanted to file the cover letter in the docket, so I did. It feels very strange to have FERC politely asking us to file things.

Thanks again to Continue reading

Petition for Rulemaking on FERC Oversight of Small-Scale Inland LNG Export Facilities 2022-07-22

Update 2022-07-23: FERC requests comments on WWALS Petition for Rulemaking on FERC Oversight of Small-Scale Inland LNG Export Facilities 2022-07-22.

FERC has filed our petition in a new docket, RM22-21. We shall see what they do from there on this request to open a Rulemaking to revisit, as FERC Chair Richard Glick has suggested, FERC’s decisions of 2014 and 2015 that left small inland LNG export facilities without environmental oversight.

[What and by Whom]
What and by Whom

Many thanks to Cecile Scofield for keeping after this issue for years, and to the rest of the WWALS Issues Committee.

And thanks to each of our co-signers, Continue reading

Chain link fence, trash cans, and dumpsters: Flying J, Exit 2 2022-07-02

The Flying J at I-75 Exit 2 in Georgia has put in a chain link fence, trash cans, and dumpsters, which now seem to keep its trash out of the detention pond, which eventually drains to the Withlacoochee River.

The trash cans and dumpsters are full and need emptying, but that means people are using them, which is a big improvement over the previous situation of just chucking trash on the pavement and into the detention pond.

There is more to do, but this is much better already.

Many thanks to Lowndes County Code Enforcement and to the Flying J.

[Trash much more contained]
Trash much more contained

After a WWALS member told me about this problem, I first reported it Continue reading

Twin Pines Minerals sues Army Corps about oversight of strip mine site near Okefenokee Swamp 2022-06-27

Well, that did not take long. Only three weeks after an Assistant Secretary of the Army told the Army Corps it had to resume oversight of the proposed titanium-dioxide strip mine site too near the Okefenokee Swamp, the miners have sued the Corps. They still want to strip mine for white paint materials within three miles of the Okefenokee Swamp, an economic engine for southeast Georgia and northeast Florida, and an irreplaceable refuge for numerous land, water, and bird species. That Swamp is the headwaters of the St Marys and Suwannee Rivers, and above the Floridan Aquifer, from which we all drink in south Georgia and north Florida, including for agriculture and industry. There must be better sources of jobs for Charlton County, Georgia.

[Twin Pines Minerals equipment on proposed mine site 2022-02-12]
Photo: John S. Quarterman for WWALS, Twin Pines Minerals equipment on proposed mine site 2020-02-12, 30.52081, -82.1261

Mary Landers, The Current, June 27, 2022, Mining company sues Army Corps over project near Okefenokee: Twin Pines claims agency erred in overturning decision and seeking Muscogee Nation’s input.

Alabama-based Twin Pines Minerals filed suit against the Army Corps of Engineers last week, claiming the federal agency erred when it bowed to “stakeholder pressure” earlier this month and made it harder for the company to get permits to mine near the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge.

…In its filing, Twin Pines maintains “The Twin Pines Approved Jurisdictional Determinations were issued in compliance with all laws, regulations, and policies — including the tribal consultation policy — in effect when they were issued.”

More specifically, the company contends Continue reading

HPS II drops Union County phosphate mine lawsuit 2022-06-23

Last Thursday, Kate Ellison posted on her facebook page the news that HPS II had dropped its lawsuit against Union County, Florida, which had been going on since 2019.

The miners were attempting to overturn Union County’s rejection of their phosphate mining permit applicaiton, and Union County’s changed land development regulations that prohibited such mining except in a small area. This is big news, although there may be more to come, and there are implications as far away as the Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia.

[Union County Times, Nutrien Phosphate Mine]
Union County Times, Nutrien Phosphate Mine

Suwannee Riverkeeper has opposed this mine since 2017, because it is uphill from the New River which flows into the Santa Fe River and then the Suwannee River, and above the Floridan Aquifer. Our Santa Fe River (OSFR) has been in the middle of this opposition all along, so, not surprisingly, OSFR has posted an extensive review, see below, naming many of the other people involved.

I’d also like to mention that, Continue reading

Mine faces roadblock at Okefenokee Swamp –Camden County Tribune & Georgian 2022-06-09

Dave Williams, Capitol Beat News Service, in Tribune & Georgian (Serving CAMDEN County, Georgia Since 1894), Mine faces roadblock at Okefenokee Swamp,

[Article]
Article

ATLANTA—The Alabama company looking to open a titanium mine near the Okefenokee Swamp is being confronted with an additional hurdle.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has Continue reading

QUARTERMAN in VDT: Sewage situation better, trash needs work 2022-05-21

John S. Quarterman, Valdosta Daily Times, May 21, 2022, QUARTERMAN: Sewage situation better, trash needs work,

Thanks to Valdosta for no sewage disasters since December 2019. Some manholes still need fixing, such as at Wainwright Drive on One Mile Branch.

But Valdosta’s mayor, council and staff seem to be staying ahead of the sewage situation, for example by buying 37 emergency generators, one for each lift station.

[John S. Quarterman]
John S. Quarterman

Now Valdosta needs to get a grip on its trash problem.

Continue reading