Tag Archives: fossil fuels

Fossil fuel forever bills in Georgia and Florida legislatures

Do these bills sound just as bad? You can help stop them, including in a committee meeting this morning.

A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Title 46 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to public utilities and public transportation, so as to prohibit governmental entities from adopting any policy that prohibits the connection or reconnection of any utility service based upon the type or source of energy or fuel; to provide for related matters; to provide for an effective date; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes. —GA SB 102

Mirrored across the GA-FL line:

Preemption on Restriction of Utility Services; Prohibiting municipalities, counties, special districts, or other political subdivisions from enacting or enforcing provisions or taking actions that restrict or prohibit the types or fuel sources of energy production which may be used, delivered, converted, or supplied to customers by specified entities; providing for preemption; providing for retroactive application, etc. —FL SB 1128

The words have been stirred, but the bills are essentially the same. Except the Florida bill goes for full unconstitutional ex post facto law with “providing for retroactive application”.

This stuff stinks of ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange, the private shadow government in which industry representatives and state legislators vote together on model bills that the state reps take back and try to pass. If they succeed, they become ALEC alumnae. ALEC or not, they’re bad bills that should not pass.

GA SB 102 has already been voted out of committee in the Georgia Senate, and its equivalent already passed the Georgia House.

FL SB 1128 is scheduled this morning at 9AM, March 16, 2021, for its second committee, Community Affairs, 03/16/21, 9:00 am, 37 Senate Building.

In the same committee meeting this morning is another of these:

State Preemption of Transportation Energy Infrastructure Regulations; Preempting the regulation of transportation energy infrastructure to the state; prohibiting a local government from taking specified actions relating to the regulation of transportation energy infrastructure, etc. —SB 856: State Preemption of Transportation Energy Infrastructure Regulations

Photo: Gretchen Quarterman, Sabal Trail pipeline drilling at night 2016-12-02
Photo: Gretchen Quarterman, Sabal Trail pipeline drill site near Withlacoochee River in Georgia 2016-12-02.

The Florida bills seems to have inadvertently missed listing Liquified Natural Gas (LNG), possibly because their authors thought “petroleum products” covered that (it doesn’t). Not to worry: “but is not limited to.”

Also, this is not just about directly passing an ordinance against fossil fuels, which most local governments already knew wouldn’t work. SB 856 would create Florida Statutes Section 377.707, with (1)(b):

Amending its comprehensive plan, Continue reading

You can sign on to ask new U.S. administration for clean water

Suwannee Riverkeeper is one of the many signatories on this Waterkeeper Alliance first 100 days plan:


With the Biden administration set to assume power next month, we’re strategizing what the next four years will mean for our movement to protect clean water and a healthy environment. We cannot celebrate until every environmental protection is restored and strengthened.

As the new administration prepares its plans for the next four years, it’s essential that key clean water and climate priorities are addressed at the outset. The first 100 days of Biden’s presidency will set the stage for the administration’s environmental policies — they must get things right from the start.

Our Climate Our Future

The last four years have posed immeasurable challenges to environmental protection — devastating more than 100 environmental safeguards and undoing decades of progress in the fight for clean water and a sustainable planet.

We have a plan to right those wrongs and chart a new course — one that puts clean water and a healthy environment front and center. And, as always, we’ll need your help to execute it.

Sign your name today to support our proposal for the Biden administration to immediately prioritize our waterways, communities, and planet in its first 100 days.

Our asks for the Biden administration’s first 100 days are:

  • Protect Public Lands and Waters from Fossil Fuel Extraction: Ban new fossil fuel leasing and permitting on publicly owned federal lands;
  • Prioritize Environmental Justice: Immediately prioritize reversing the grave systemic damage done to environmental justice policy and enforcement in the United States over the past four years and charting a new just and equitable course for the 21st century;
  • Issue a New Executive Order to Restore the Clean Water Act: Expedite the process for repairing the broken definition of “waters of the United States,” repealing the Trump Dirty Waters Rule and replacing it with science-based protections for our waterways, and reinstating state and tribal authority and public participation rights under section 401 of the Clean Water Act;
  • Restore the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA): Repeal Trump’s NEPA rollback and strengthen public participation in projects impacting the environment; and
  • Rescind Trump’s Most Damaging Environmental Executive Orders: Revoke executive orders that directed all federal agencies to roll back our environmental protections in favor of the outgoing administration’s pro-polluter agenda.

These are the issues that will guide our advocacy efforts as the new administration assumes leadership — the same issues that the Waterkeeper movement has been advocating for for years. It’s now on all of us to ensure they become priorities of the new administration.

Show your support today by signing on to our proposal for the Biden administration’s first 100 days. We need each and every one of you to join in the fight for drinkable, fishable, swimmable water.


Follow this link to sign on:
http://action.waterkeeper.org/landing-pages/tell-biden-its-time-to-put-clean-water-and-a-healthy-environment-front-and-center

You may also want to ask for repeal of this EO, which promotes mining at the expense of everything else, including environment and property rights:

Executive Order 13817 of December 20, 2017 (A Federal Strategy To Ensure Secure and Reliable Supplies of Critical Minerals)

That EO is being used as an excuse by the Alabama company that wants to mine titanium far too near the Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia, which also affects Florida directly. 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

Pictures: Woods Ferry Tract to Suwannee Springs 2017-05-20

Springs and sand like snow, red and yellow water, chatting as we go, Woods Ferry to Suwannee Springs on the Suwannee River, May 20, 2017, with Hands Across the Sand at noon. Even though everyone had a trash bag, there was surprisingly almost no trash to pick up until we got to Suwannee Springs. Here are some pictures, a few videos, and a google map showing the locations.

What is the name of this spring?

Upriver across the spring, Upriver across the spring, 30.3695100, -82.8887100

It’s in SRWMD’s Continue reading

Hands Across the Sand on the Suwannee, 2017-05-20

Here’s Hands Across the Sand on the Suwannee River, with boats, during the WWALS outing from Woods Ferry Tract to Suwannee Springs Saturday.

And tie-dye
Picture by Gretchen Quarterman for WWALS.

Here’s an out-take from the making of, as Gretchen attempted to Continue reading

Here

Lots more pictures now posted of this sunny Suwannee River outing past springs and sand like snow, plus Hands Across the Sand.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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

Woods Ferry to Suwannee Springs, Outing and Hands Across the Sands, Suwannee River 2017-05-20

Due to low water, we’re moving the May 20th outing downstream! With lunch, swim stops, and bon-bons, of course. Bring bug spray and the usual personal flotation device, boat paddles, food, drinking water, warm clothes, and first aid kit. If you don’t have a boat, there are many outfitters, or let us know and many of us have spare boats.

Two outfitters advise there should be enough water on this route to avoid much boat dragging. There is a slight 30% possibility of afternoon thunder showers. Same date, same time, same river: just a bit downstream.

When: 9AM Saturday May 20, 2017, meet to shuttle
10AM: Start paddling
12PM noon: Stop for Hands Across the Sand
   “Say NO to dirty fuels and YES to clean energy”
2-3PM: Finish some time around then

Put In: Mile 158.0, Woods Ferry Tract Launch, in Suwannee County, Florida

GPS of Entrance: to Woods Ferry Tract 30.343508, -82.855187

Paddle Distance: 8.0 river miles

Paddle Duration: 4 hours

Event: facebook, meetup

Shuttle route

Directions to Put In: From Live Oak, travel north on Continue reading

Sabal Trail, Bell Bros, WWALS, Solar in APN 2016-09-12

The Bell brothers, Flint Riverkeeper, and John S. Quarterman of WWALS all against Sabal Trail in an Atlanta publication. Come on down to the Suwannee River Tuesday near Jasper, FL or to the Withlacoochee River between Quitman and Valdosta, GA 9AM Saturday Sep. 17th to see for yourself what we’re protecting and to say your piece on video.

Gloria Tatum, Atlanta Progressive News, 12 September 2016, Proposed SabaL Gas Pipeline runs through aquifer, wetlands, sinkhole territory, Continue reading

Property rights, agriculture, karst limestone, Withlacoochee River –Don Thieme to FERC about Sabal Trail pipeline

Last in before FERC closed 5PM Wednesday for the holidays was local geologist Don Thieme, commenting about our Withlacoochee River and the fragile karst limestone that underlies it, among other concerns. It’s likely that FERC will continue accepting comments and motions to intervene after yesterday’s deadline.

Filed with FERC 24 December 2014 as Accession Number: 20141224-5109 “Comment of Donald M. Thieme in Docket(s)/Project(s) CP15-17-000 Submission Date: 12/24/2014”,

Donald M. Thieme, Valdosta, GA.

As a local resident and head of household in Lowndes County, I have concerns about the rights of landowners to continue agriculture and other economically productive uses which may be incompatible with the proposed Sabal Trail pipeline. I have also heard many concerns voiced regarding loss of property value, particularly where new pipe may be laid on land which presently has no existing line. As a professional geologist, however, Continue reading