Tag Archives: Crystal River

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

Extended: PHMSA LNG by rail car exception until 2019-08-07 on 2019-07-09

The only extension request PHMSA admitted to today, as it extended the comment period for a month, was from two members of Congress. That request notes:

If Energy Transport Solutions intends to run 100+ rail tank cars on the Florida East Coast Railway, PHMSA would be placing large swaths of people and critical infrastructure (hospitals, schools, highways, and even the President’s Mar-a-Lago resort) in jeopardy.

[3.3.2 Probability of Delayed Ignition]
3.3.2 Probability of Delayed Ignition

PHMSA also took the opportunity to add an Updated Environmental Assessment (EA), and a Quantitative Risk Analysis (QRA), which is worthless: “The scope of the QRA addresses unit train movements along one example route located in the Northeastern United States.” The QRA has no maps nor any specific identification of populations, schools, hospitals, businesses, nor even identification of which route is the example, nor which other routes might be used for shipping LNG by rail.

This all to me sounds like PHMSA always intended to extend, and to add these less than useful documents.

PHMSA also claims it added “The Energy Transport Solutions, LLC special permit application (in redacted form)” but I can’t find that online, so we still don’t even really know who the applicant is.

Extension Notice

Continue reading

PHMSA LNG by rail car exception 2019-06-06

Alachua County, New Jersey legislators, WWALS, and the U.S. House of Representatives oppose this PHMSA LNG-by-rail exception, and you can, too.

[Special Permit- Draft-0001]
Special Permit- Draft-0001

PHMSA proposes to authorize LNG in ordinary cryogenic rail cars, in an exception for a subsidiary of the company that owns Hialeah LNG and already sends LNG in containers by rail for export. “In most cases, ETS would expect that the ultimate end-users of this LNG will be foreign generators of power for residential, commercial and industrial purposes,” says the Draft Environmental Assessment. Why should we risk our homes, schools, businesses, hospitals, etc. for private export profit from New Fortress Energy’s Hialeah LNG plant near Miami? Or for a liquefaction plant in Pennsylvania or New Jersey?

PHMSA posted this extension request on June 3rd, and the deadline for comment is this Monday, July 8, 2019. WWALS signed onto an extension request by Physicians for Social Responsibility. You can still send in a copy of that request or other comments by Monday. WWALS will be filing another comment letter, as well.

The only ETS google maps finds in Doral, FL, is Continue reading

Solar power would bring more jobs than toll roads –Suwannee Riverkeeper in Gainesville Sun 2019-05-22

In the Gainesville Sun, yesterday, May 22, 2019:

Now that Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed the toll road bill, SB 7068, Suwannee Riverkeeper — which was among the 90 organizations throughout Florida that asked him to veto it — continues to oppose that boondoggle and propose actual benefits to Florida’s economy and waters.

Aerial Google map, Crystal River to Monticello and Thomasville
Google map of one likely route of the Suncoast Connector.

One of these three unneeded turnpikes would have to cross the Suwannee River, plowing through counties where we have many members. All this very poorly written bill says about its route is: “Suncoast Connector, extending from Citrus County to 164 Jefferson County.” Apparently that means from Crystal River to Monticello, and on to Thomasville, Georgia, through farms, forests and swamps. If this toll road builds its bypasses, bye-bye local businesses in Chiefland, Fanning Springs, Old Town and Cross City.

Yes, the turnpike bill has a “project development phase” for $45 million and increasing each year, with a Continue reading

Facebook group: Dangerous Liquified Natural Gas trains and trucks

For discussion and getting the word out, there’s a new facebook group, Dangerous Liquefied Natural Gas on Trains/Trucks.

In a March 3, 2016, letter, the Federal Railroad Administration warned Florida East Coast Railway of the danger of transporting Liquefied Natural Gas on the same tracks as high-speed passenger rail. What could go wrong? Do the math…. If an LNG container is breached, accidentally or intentionally, the liquid begins to warm, resulting in a Flammable Vapor-Cloud that can be blown around by the wind, igniting everything in its path. In Fernley, Nevada, the Flammable Vapor-Cloud fire from a tanker truck loaded with 10,000 gallons of LNG appeared to have been caused by static electricity. Flames shot 40 feet into the air and fire officials evacuated the area. The fire burned for a couple of days, before eventually burning itself out.

Photo: Howard Salmon, for Tahoe Daily Tribune, of Fernley, NV, LNG tanker truck fire, 2005-09-14
Photo: Howard Salmon, for Tahoe Daily Tribune, of Fernley, NV, LNG tanker truck fire, 2005-09-14

As that facebook group says, if you want to help stop fires like that from happening in Florida or Georgia, you can contribute to the WWALS legal fund for the pending case against the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for shirking its inland LNG oversight duty.

Thanks to Continue reading

LNG export through Tampa from Strom in Crystal River

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Crystal River, Florida, October 18, 2018 — Strom, Inc. now proposes exporting liquid natural gas (LNG) by tanker ship through the port of Tampa. That explosive cargo would get there by land from Crystal River through densely populated areas. LNG tanker ships would go out right by downtown Tampa and St. Petersburg, and under the I-275 bridge. Strom has always said some of this fracked methane would likely come from the Sabal Trail pipeline. Getting on with solar power for the Sunshine state makes a lot more sense than shipping gas under our rivers, through private property, and by major cities for corporate export profit. Clean energy for Florida and beyond is an issue in this election year.

Strom Inc. export through Tampa, Map
Map: by WWALS, from federal and state filings of LNG export operations.

Strom “may elect to file an amendment to our application to allow transportation of LNG by LNG tanker,” according to its latest semi-annual report to the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) Office of Fossil Energy (FE) (see https://wwals.net/?p=46497), According to Strom’s website it means LNG tanker ships, like this one: Continue reading

Strom, Inc. LNG export quarterly report to DOE FE 2018-10-01

What’s this about LNG tanker, in Strom, Inc’s latest LNG export planning report?

Strom has insisted on liquid natural gas (LNG) in shipping containers since 2014, back when it tried to get FERC to state it wasn’t overseeing small-export LNG. Strom still aims to export through the Port of Tampa, and maybe other ports.

“As a direct result of recent Offtake and LNG supply requests, Strom may elect to file an amendment to our application to allow transportation of LNG by LNG tanker.”

Does that mean LNG tanker truck, such as I photographed rolling down I-75, and turning onto I-10 for Jacksonville, probably from Pivotal LNG in Georgia?

1 Mile, I-75 Exit 435 for I-10 Jacksonville Tallahassee

Or does it mean LNG tanker ship, like this one? Continue reading

FDEP now maps last 30 days of spills

Pollution spill maps online, up to date, with interactive links to details: Florida is doing it, and so can Georgia.

Florida, Maps

For more than a year FDEP has been posting spill reports online in a spreadsheet the same day it gets them, with email notice signup (Alabama also does that). FDEP has added a Public Notice of Pollution (PNP) Finder: Last 30 Days, which helps a lot in finding spills in our watersheds.

Did you know there was a Phosphoric Acid spill at White Springs last week, on Continue reading

LNG export from Port Everglades and Jacksonville –Florida Bulldog 2018-08-22

Florida Bulldog reports on LNG exports right now from Fortress Energy’s Hialeah plant through Port Everglades via Florida East Coast Railway (FECR) through densely populated neighborhoods. The larger story includes FECR can export via Crowley Maritime from Jacksonville, and Pivotal LNG is already exporting LNG from Alabama and Georgia through JAX, arriving via truck down I-75 and I-10. Plus offshoot pipelines from Sabal Trail already go to both Jacksonville and Riviera Beach. Why should we let these corporations cash in on fracked methane now that solar power is already here?

A Crowley LNG export ship fueled by LNG.
An LNG export ship fueled by LNG. Image: Crowley Maritime; “An artist’s rendering of one of Crowley’s LNGfueled, combination container and roll-on/roll-off (ConRo) ships—El Coqui slated for delivery in 2017.”

Ann Henson Feltgen, Florida Bulldog.org, 22 August 2018, Despite ‘disaster risk,’ trains haul hazardous gas cargo in South Florida,

About the same time Florida East Coast Railway (FEC) executives were convincing Florida’s east coast cities and counties to back its idea of privately owned passenger trains traversing downtowns and densely populated neighborhoods, it quietly sought and won permission to haul extremely flammable liquified natural gas along the same tracks.

Liquefied natural gas (LNG) is a hazardous material Continue reading

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 Continue reading