Tag Archives: Bill Gates

Cattle and hogs: Withlacoochee River water quality status 2021-06-27

Update 2021-06-28: Filthy GA-FL Line, Withlacoochee River 2021-06-26.

Most Withlacoochee River contamination comes from cattle manure runoff, according to extensive testing. Yet there is the myth that every problem with the Withlacoochee River comes from Valdosta sewage. Actually, Valdosta has not had a spill that got into the river in more than a year and a half.

Other cities do have sewage spills (especially Quitman), which do cause problems. But when the rivers have E. coli after big rains, it usually comes from cattle manure runoff.

Most of the time our rivers are clean, and here’s how we know that.

[Map: Quitman, Valdosta, Okapilco Creek, Knights Ferry Boat Ramp, Withlacoochee-River]
Map: Quitman, Valdosta, Okapilco Creek, Knights Ferry Boat Ramp, Withlacoochee-River in the WWALS map of all public landings in the Suwannee River Basin.

These questions from a year ago still reflect many we get to this day: Continue reading

Bill Gates, farms, rivers, springs

The NBC News story has legs.

Rebecca Heilweil, Vox, 11 June 2021, The controversy over Bill Gates becoming the largest private farmland owner in the US: People are drawing connections between Gates’s vast farmlands and climate change advocacy.

One Georgia farmer and environmental advocate, John Quarterman, told NBC that while he expected that Gates would encourage more sustainable practices after buying farmland nearby, his acquisition of that land didn’t change much. And the National Farmers Union has suggested that the growing number of non-farmer owners like Gates buying up farmland — and renting it out — could lead to practices that hurt the environment: Short-term farmers who rent land are less likely to take long-term conservation steps, the organization argues, and non-farmer owners don’t have the experience to “understand the importance of protecting natural resources.”

[Photo: Chris Mericle, Dust storm in Hamilton County, Florida, March, 2014, Suwannee Riverkeeper by NBC News, June, 2021]
Photo: Chris Mericle, Dust storm in Hamilton County, Florida, March, 2014, Suwannee Riverkeeper by NBC News, June, 2021

The Vox story includes the Leading Harvest greenwashing of Gates’ tinkering around the edges, but goes harder on this:

But whatever Gates might wish, many observers can’t quite separate the two things. For them, Bill Gates the environmentalist is also Bill Gates the commercial farmland owner, and they think the two roles are connected even if Gates doesn’t consider them to be.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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

Gates Foundation viewed as political ploy

This article does not follow the Gates-worshiping herd: “The [Gates Foundation] even reports having a $5.3 million bond holding in Energy Transfer Operating, which is a partial owner of the Dakota Access pipeline —the subject of a very high-profile divestment campaign.

There is much more, well worth reading, in today’s article by Tim Schwab, The Nation, 16 February 2021, Bill Gates, Climate Warrior. And Super Emitter: The billionaire’s new book, a bid to be taken seriously as a climate campaigner, has attracted the usual worshipful coverage. When will the media realize that with Gates you have to follow the money? See below for where I’m quoted about Gates’ farmland investments. But first, more about pipelines.

As we dug up back in 2016, the same company, Enbridge, is part owner of both the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) and the Sabal Trail fracked methane pipeline that gouged under our Withlacoochee, Suwannee, Santa Fe, and Withlacoochee (south) Rivers in south Georgia and north Florida, destroying farmlands and forests along the way. We held and participated in numerous demonstrations about #NoDAPL, #NoSabalTrail, as well as other actions, including a legal case in Florida and feeding information to the case Sierra Club won in U.S. District Court. We continue to advocate against expansion of Sabal Trail, and to report on its leaks and other damage.

Stop Sabal Trail from the Suwannee
Stop Sabal Trail from the Suwannee, in #NoDAPL #NoSabalTrail @ Suwannee River State Park 2016-09-13

The article does not go easy on Gates or his Foundation, for example referring to the book he just published about climate change.

In his book, Gates several times praises the young people and activists who have energized climate politics—even drawing parallels to successful protests against the Vietnam War and divestment campaigns against South African apartheid. Yet Gates doesn’t seriously engage with these political movements, and seems oblivious to ways that they’ve pushed the mainstream conversation on climate change beyond the technical question of how to reduce carbon emissions—Gates’s narrow focus—to interrogate the political systems and economic models that, for example, channel climate change’s greatest impacts toward the poor and people of color.

Anthony Rogers-Wright, director of environmental justice for the New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, notes that even Joe Biden—a “centrist, neoliberal president”—understands that issues like equity and justice are central to climate change, as is evident in a recent executive order that mentions the term “environmental justice” 27 times. In Gates’s 250-page book, the term is completely absent.

“These billionaires, the best they could do, some would say, would be to be stop their foundations and pay their fair share of taxes,” says Continue reading

Southern Cross Dairy (Suwannee Farms) liquidation and permit renewal 2019-11-25

Today I got an automated notice from FDEP about a wastewater permit for Suwannee Farms, and a WWALS member sent a picture of this auction sign saying “HUGE PRODUCE & ROW CROP FARM COMPLETE LIQUIDATION” next to a bigger sign saying Suwannee Farms. This is in Suwannee County near the Suwannee River.

[HUGE PRODUCE & ROW CROP FARM COMPLETE LIQUIDATION]

I called DeMottAuction.com and asked if the land was also for sale. They said they weren’t selling the land, only equipment. Which of course doesn’t mean that the land is not for sale; only that Continue reading

FGT pipeline noise, Suwannee County 2018-02-25

It sounded like a jet engine Wednesday evening, said a WWALS member as a pipeline let loose in Suwannee County. (Hear it for yourself in WWALS videos four days later.) Was it a leak? A planned release? A road construction break? We get no answers, just runarounds, from the federal and state agencies that permitted all the interstate natural gas pipelines into Florida. They passed the buck to Suwannee County Fire Rescue. At least Suwannee BOCC opposed the Sabal Trail pipeline and approved a solar farm.

Photo: John S. Quarterman for WWALS 2018-02-25 of FGT pipeline at Suwannee Oaks Drive.
Photo: John S. Quarterman for WWALS 2018-02-25 of FGT at Suwannee Oaks Drive.

Neighbors preparing to evacuate February 21, 2018, confirmed the location: just north of 208th Street, at Continue reading

Less withdrawals, more water retention for North Florida Regional Water Supply Plan: WWALS PR 2016-12-06

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Jasper, Florida, November 6th 2016 — Better modeling and measurement of more water reuse and retention with fewer water withdrawals in both north Florida and south Georgia, WWALS Watershed Coalition (WWALS) recommended yesterday in comments (PDF) on the North Florida Regional Water Supply Plan (NFRWSP). WWALS also opposed the Falling Creek Aquifer Storage project and suggested a replacement, and recommended including threats to the FLoridan Aquifer and the Suwannee, Withlacoochee, and Alapaha Rivers such as pipelines and fracking.

Figure C3: Aquifer surface change due to withdrawals in north Florida and south Georgia WWALS applauded water supply projects involving reuse or stormwater, especially those in Jacksonvile and Gainesville, two of the sources of the general problem of falling water levels in the Floridan Aquifer. WWALS also applauded the plan to set minimum flow levels on the upper Suwannee River and WWALS expects to be involved with that.

WWALS recommended expanding the original study area, which stopped at the Suwannee River on the west and the Georgia-Florida state line on the north. WWALS president John S. Quarterman explained,

“Our rivers don’t stop because there’s a state line on a map, and there are three second-magnitude springs on the Withlacoochee River in Georgia south of Valdosta, one of them with a more than 4,000-foot cave system, that aren’t taken into account in this draft plan.”

Quarterman elaborated on a much larger concern: Continue reading

Bill Gates, Suwannee Farms, Lakeland Sands, examples from the air 2016-06-21

Here are a few pictures of some Bill Gates properties from the MIDS Southwings flyover of June 21st, 2016, including Lakeland Sands 208th St. to Suwannee Farms 30.0667640, -82.9828050 Suwannee Farms which we previously discovered a Gates subsidiary had bought.

Notice how close these lands are to the Suwannee River or the Withlacoochee River and Madison Blue Spring. Some of them look freshly cleared. Many of them are probably also in Floridan Aquifer recharge zones. There is more identification work to be done. And we have more aerial pictures (and video).

See also the WWALS web page on Corporate Agriculture.

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

Continue reading

Bill Gates considered toxic to springs –Dan Hilliard

It’s not the Gates Foujndation: it’s his private investment arm. And Lakeland Sands is not the only LLC shell corp he’s using to buy up land in Suwannee, Hamilton, and Madison Counties, FL In front of a center pivot and Lowndes and Echols Counties, GA; see /issues/corpag/.

Dan Hilliard, Citrus County Chronicle, 31 July 2016, Bill Gates and the death of Florida’s iconic springs,

…while the degradation of South Florida waters receives national attention, contributions of big agriculture — exemplified by operations owned by Bill Gates — to the deterioration of North Florida waters have gone largely unnoticed.

Throughout North Florida, over-pumping of the Floridan aquifer and Continue reading

Suwannee Farms, Lakeland Sands, and Bill Gates in Suwannee County, FL

Why does a farm need an industrial wastewater facility permit? WWALS got an email alert from FDEP about such a permit request for Suwannee Farms LLC on June 11th. A bit of digging shows it’s apparently now owned by Bill Gates, along with many more nearby acres in center pivot agriculture.

Suwannee Farms, Suwannee River Terra, and Lakeland Sands Permit: Water – Industrial Wastewater Facility Permit
Project Name: SUWANNE FARMS LLC
Location Id: FLA470031
Location Name: Suwanne Farms LLC
County: Suwannee
Application Number: FLA470031-005

For further information, please contact the Northeast District permitting office in Jacksonville at (904) 256-1700

Suwannee Farms has its own Continue reading

Antioch Cemetery in a field, Jasper, FL

“Gone but not forgotten” say many of the epitaphs Closer in Antioch Cemetery, stranded in the middle of a center pivot field near Jasper, Hamilton County, Florida. Who did this? Could it be Bill Gates?

The cemetery is at the end of SW 38 Trail, 30.4606571, -83.1870117, in a tiny 1.97 acre parcel 4736-000 owned by Continue reading