Tag Archives: FPL

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

Speakers, NextEra Quitman Solar II, Brooks County, GA 2019-08-05

The speakers against NextEra’s 150 megawatt Quitman II Solar on wooded wetlands were many and eloquent, from the very directly affected Brian Duck surrounded by solar panels to the strategic NextEra’s deadlines are not our deadlines, to the philosophical: Chad Stipe on Heritage and values, and Abigail Pope Sowell on care of the earth as our most pleasing responsibility.


      Surrounded by solar panels --Brian Duck
Brian Duck in the wheelchair on the left, about to tell the Commission how he is surrounded by NextEra’s proposed solar panels.

The speakers for let out some stunners, such as Deer will just move –Corey Haines, Biologist, Trees and roads no concern –Atty. Jonathan E. Wells, and Cancel out my wife –George Wallace.

My favorite was the allegedly impartial Daniel Geller of UGA who claimed Georgians import all our energy. I rebutted this by noting my 15 kilowatts of solar panels on my farm workshop, before telling the Commissioners some things they may not have known, about FPL in Florida and Sabal Trail burning in Quitman. Opposition attorney Waters also got Gellar to explicitly say he was not speaking for UGA.

Compliments to the Brooks County Commission for letting everybody who wanted to speak, with no restrictions on where they could be from (unlike Charlton County). There were, however, some irregularities: Continue reading

Videos: Decision, NextEra Quitman Solar II, Brooks County, GA 2019-08-05

Update 2019-08-17: WWALS videos of the speakers for and against.

The Public Hearing was so packed more people were standing outside. There was a decision, finally, but first…. The speakers against were eloquent and numerous, despite the initial confusion about could they give their 5 minutes to opposition attorney Jonathan P. Waters.

[UGA can confirm --Jonathan P. Waters]
UGA can confirm –Jonathan P. Waters

Answer: no, but the Chairman let several opposition speakers have the attorney speak for them anyway.

Various people spoke for NextEra’s proposed special exception for their 150 megawatt Quitman Solar II project in wooded wetlands.

[Economic developiment --Sherry Davidson, SGRC]
Economic developiment –Sherry Davidson, SGRC

Then the Brooks County Commission made the still-overpacked house wait through their regular agenda. Finally, Patrick Folsom moved Continue reading

NextEra wants Solar Farm on wooded wetlands in Brooks County, GA 2019-06-18

Update 2019-08-05: Decision.

NextEra wants a special exception for a 150 megawatt solar farm on wooded wetlands in Brooks County. The Brooks County Commission is holding a Public Hearing this Monday, August 5th. NextEra previously got approval for a 100 MW solar farm on already-cleared farmland. WWALS is all for solar, but not if it requires clearing forests or filling in wetlands, as it appears this application may involve.

When: 5PM, Monday, August 5, 2019

Where: 610 South Highland Street, Quitman, Georgia 31643

Event: facebook

[Rezoning Sign]
Rezoning Sign

According to the Brooks County Clerk yesterday, those who sign up before 5PM will get three minutes each to speak in the Public Hearing. See also the Documents.

Emma Wheeler, WCTV, 18 June 2019, Solar panel farm proposed in Brooks County, Continue reading

Sabal Trail shakey gas flow and Phase II 2019-06-11

Apparently some people in Albany, GA and Dunnellon, FL were surprised when Sabal Trail a week ago sent FERC “Notice of Commencement of Construction – Phase II Sabal Trail Project Facilities”, which means for the compressor stations in those two locations. But that notice was merely that “bona fide construction activities commenced on May 29, 2019.” FERC rubberstamped Phase II back in January, and Sabal Trail has been reporting on site clearing, gravelling, etc. for months.

[Aerial]
Albany Compressor Station site Aerial from 2019-01-17 STT filing

Meanwhile, Sabal Trail still can’t keep the gas flowing through its stranded asset pipelines. There never was any “need” for that gas in Florida, where Florida Power & Light (FPL)’s customers are stuck with the $4 billion construction bill. While FPL’s parent NextEra Energy never mentions Sabal Trail any more. NextEra brags instead about being a world leader in solar and wind energy.

[All (2017-06-14--2019-06-11)]
All (2017-06-14 — 2019-06-11)

When John Peconom of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) inked that rubberstamp back in January, the schedule was Continue reading

FDEP summoned to Baker County about EZBase coal ash byproduct 2019-04-16

JEA “specifically declined the invitation” by the Baker BOCC to come talk about EZBase, a road pavement material made from coal ash, and spread on roads and parking lots in Baker County, Florida. FDEP accepted an invitation and will present this Tuesday. The Baker (FL) BOCC and Mark Lyon invite everyone to that meeting.

When: Meeting starts 5PM, FDEP presentation about 6PM,
Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Where: Baker County Courthouse, 339 E Macclenny Ave # 113, Macclenny, FL 32063

Event: facebook, meetup

Photo: Michael Rivera, of Baker County, Florida, Courthouse. CC Attribution, Share Alike
Photo: Michael Rivera, of Baker County, Florida, Courthouse. CCAttributionShare Alike

Most of Baker County, including its county seat Macclenny, is in the St Marys River watershed. However, south along FL 121 before the Union County line on the way to Fort Butler, part of Baker County is in the Suwannee River Basin, and we don’t know whether EZBase may have been spread on roads there.

Plus JEA shipped coal ash from Jacksonville to the Veolia Pecan Row landfill in Lowndes County, Georgia, which is in the Suwannee River Basin, a quarter mile uphill from the Withlacoochee River and in a Floridan Aquifer recharge zone.

While environmentalists everywhere are celebrating North Carolina DEQ’s Order for Duke Energy to Excavate Coal Ash at Six Remaining Sites, let’s remember the decision for each of those six sites was “Movement of coal ash to a new or existing lined landfill”. We don’t want Duke or JEA or other coal ash in our landfills or “recycled” as EZBase and spread on roads. The utilities that created the coal ash should have to bear the expense of disposing of it safely on their own land.

JEA also owns Continue reading

Florida Water Conservation Month and Waterkeepers Florida 2019-04-02

Yesterday, the Chair of Waterkeepers Florida received a resolution sponsored by Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nicole “Nikki” Fried and “signed by Governor DeSantis and the full Cabinet, recognizing the month of April as Water Conservation Month in Florida.” This is a good thing, but we should keep our eyes open about Florida’s current cabinet.

[WKA FL Chair, Governor, Cabinet]
Left to right: Lisa Rinaman for WKA FL, unknown, Gov. Ron DeSantis, FDEP Secretary Noah Valenstein, Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, unknown, Attorney General Ashley Moody, and Chief Financial Office Jimmy Patronis.

Commissioner Fried presented the resolution to Lisa Rinaman, the St. Johns Riverkeeper and Chair of Waterkeepers Florida. Read the resolution declaring April as Water Conservation Month here.

“On behalf of Waterkeepers Florida, we thank Commissioner Fried, Governor DeSantis and the Florida Cabinet for designating April as Water Conservation Month. Water conservation is critical to the work we do to protect and restore Florida’s waters. We applaud this resolution and the Cabinet’s commitment to conserving Florida’s waters and the opportunity to partner with our leaders to protect our waters for future generations,” said Lisa Rinaman, St. Johns Riverkeeper.

On St. Johns Riverkeeper’s facebook page, yesterday: Continue reading

FPL supposedly unrelated pipeline to the sea rolled into FSC with Sabal Trail

FPL’s planned-for-a-decade pipeline to the sea just happens to connect Sabal Trail with an LNG export port. Nevermind that this MR-RV Lateral was never run through the FERC permitting process: FERC rolled it into Florida Southeast Connection.

Susan Salisbury, Palm Beach Post, 10 March 2012 (updated 31 March 2012), FPL proposes 32-mile natural gas pipeline for Riviera Beach plant,

FPL is seeking state approval for a 32-mile natural gas pipeline to provide an uninterrupted supply to Florida Power & Light Co.’s new Riviera Beach plant.

RBEC Lateral in Palm Beach Post 2012
Map: Palm Beach Post, 31 March 2012.

The story said FPL was working with FDEP to determine the final route. It also said:

The project is not related to FPL’s proposed $1.5 billion, 300-mile natural gas pipeline that would have run from Bradford County to Martin County. The Florida Public Service Commission Continue reading

Sabal Trail still can’t keep the gas flowing 2019-01-10

Like last winter, Sabal Trail can’t keep the gas flowing during the dead of winter, the only time Florida might need heating.

All: 201710, Graphs

This data is from Sabal Trail’s Informational Postings, which are required by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

As you can see by the numbers on Sabal Trail’s current map, even at the other stations it is shipping less than half (393) of its currently stated capacity (813). At Reunion, even the capacity is lower (711), and the amount shipped (Nom) is a sixth of that. Continue reading

FPL Columbia County Solar Farm, fall 2018

East on I-10 just before I-75 southbound crosses: a 74.5 MW FPL solar farm in Columbia County, Florida, well along in construction. I don’t think any newspaper ever called the Sabal Trail fracked methane pipeline a windfall:

Continued, Newspaper
Solar photos: Carl McKinney, Lake City Reporter. Sorry I forgot who sent me this picture of the newspaper front page.

FPL PR 31 July 2018, Construction begins on FPL’s four newest solar power plants, Continue reading