Tag Archives: natural gas

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

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

FPL and JEA exiting Plant Scherer Unit 4 near Macon, GA 2020-06-26

The biggest, dirtiest, coal plant in the country is losing the owners of one of its four units: Plant Scherer, near Juliette, Georgia, north of Macon. Florida Power & Light (FPL) and the Jacksonville Electric Authority (JEA), are bailing out of their 76.4% and 23.6% shares of unit 4, by January 2022. Somebody else may buy into unit 4, and thus Georgia Power may keep it running. But maybe not, considering the reason for FPL and JEA exiting is that the plant is no longer economical to run. Meanwhile, where will the coal ash go?

At least maybe soon less mercury will go into the air and come down in the Withlacoochee and Alapaha Rivers and the Okefenokee Swamp.

JEA: Plant Scherer
Photo: JEA. Plant Scherer, located near Macon, Georgia, is operated by the Georgia Power Company. Unit 4, one of the four steam units located at the site, is partially owned by JEA. Unit 4 uses coal to produce JEA’s 200 MW portion of electricity output, which is delivered to Jacksonville over large, high-voltage electric transmission lines.

This move was signaled in FPL’s Ten Year Power Plant Site Plan 2020 – 2029, Submitted To: Florida Public Service Commission, April 2020:

(i) Retirement of Existing Generating Units That Are No Longer Economic to Operate:

…the retirement of FPL’s ownership portion (approximately 76%) of the coal-fueled Scherer Unit 4 unit in Georgia is planned by January 2022. FPL’s ownership portion of this unit is approximately 630 MW.

The news is not all good. Brendan Rivers, wjct, 26 June 2020, JEA Approves Plan To Close Unit At Plant Scherer, 1 Of Nation’s Biggest Carbon Emitters,

The transaction approved by the board includes JEA entering into a Continue reading

Fracking is causing global rise in methane pollution

So bad even the fossil fuel industry press is reporting it: Nick Cunningham, OilPrice.com, 18 August 2019, Shale’s Dark Side: Methane Emissions Are Soaring,

Figure 1: methane emissions rising since 2008, and it's fracking
Figure 1 from the study: Methane emissions are rapidly rising since 2008, and carbon 13 signatures show it’s not cows, it’s not swamps, it’s not coal, which is crashing: it’s fracking.

A new study finds that shale oil and gas is behind the global rise in methane pollution over the past decade, a major source of greenhouse gas emissions.

The study, published in Biogeosciences, was able to separate methane emissions from conventional versus unconventional drilling, as well as methane from other “biogenic” sources, such as agriculture or wetlands. “This recent increase in methane is massive,” Robert W. Howarth of Cornell University, the author of the study, said in a statement. “It’s globally significant. It’s contributed to some of the increase in global warming we’ve seen and shale gas is a major player.”

Methane emissions rose Continue reading

WCTV on AGL pipeline Homerville coffee shop explosion and proposed GA-PSC fines 2019-04-04

How about some accountability for regulations already in place, starting with legally-required corporate policies and procedures?

Emma Wheeler, WCTV Eyewitness News, State: Gas company failures led up to Homerville explosion,

[Empty lot]
WCTV’s Emma Wheeler reporting from the empty lot where Coffee Corner used to be in Homverville, GA

The Public Service Commission is proposing a civil penalty of $2.3 million against Atlanta Gas Light for the violations.

[GA-PSC says AGL did not shut off the gas]
GA-PSC says AGL did not shut off the gas

Suwannee Riverkeeper John Quarterman lives near the start of the pipeline. He said he was horrified by the report, and fears that this could happen anywhere along its path.

[

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

WWALS to PHMSA: Sabal Trail Map and Hildreth Compressor Station Leak 2018-12-19

Sent today via email as PDF. -jsq

  December 19 , 2018

PHMSA Suwannee County, Florida, Maps

To: Director James Urisko < James.Urisko@dot.gov >, 404-832-1150

Southern Region Office

PHMSA Office of Pipeline Safety

233 Peachtree Street NE, Suite 600

Atlanta, GA 30303

Cc: Community Liaisons:

James A. Kelly < James.Kelly@dot.gov >, 404-990-1848

Arthur Buff < Arthur.Buff@dot.gov >,  404-226-6153

Re: Sabal Trail Map and Hildreth Compressor Station Leak 2018-09-29

Dear Director Urisko,

On November 13, 2018, I sent you a list of sixteen questions about Sabal Trail’s leak at its Hildreth Compressor Station in Suwannee County, Florida, on September 29, 2018.

The only response I have received was Continue reading

WWALS to PHMSA about Sabal Trail Hildreth Compressor Station Leak 2018-09-29

Update 2018-12-19: No answers a month later, so today we sent another inquiry today.

Sent today, as PDF. -jsq

Questions, Letter


November 13, 2018

To: Director James Urisko <James.Urisko@dot.gov>, 404-832-1150
Southern Region Office
PHMSA Office of Pipeline Safety
233 Peachtree Street NE, Suite 600
Atlanta, GA 30303

Cc: Community Liaisons:
James Kelly <James.Kelly@dot.gov>, 404-990-1848
Arthur Buff <Arthur.Buff@dot.gov>, 404-226-6153

Re: Sabal Trail Hildreth Compressor Station Leak 2018-09-29

Dear Director Urisko,

For more than 20 hours starting Saturday, September 29, 2018, the Sabal Trail interstate natural gas pipeline leaked “26.40516 MMscf” of “Non-odorized natural gas“ and “10,405.5 lbs” of “VOC” (presumably Volatile Organic Compounds) at its Hildreth Compressor Station in Suwannee County, Florida. A week later Sabal Trail filed a report with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP), the text of which is appended to this letter.

I have several questions:

  1. Why did Sabal Trail take more than a week to report this incident to FDEP?
  2. Did Sabal Trail report this incident to PHMSA? If so, please send a copy of that report, or how to get it.
  3. Has PHMSA filed a report about this incident? If so, please send a copy or how to get it.
  4. Is PHMSA investigating this incident? If so, when will the investigation be complete? Are there any interim results or opportunities for public comment into the process?
  5. Since Sabal Trail wrote “nothing in the yard caused alarms” and “Site is unmanned,” how did Sabal Trail discover this leak?
  6. What changes has Sabal Trail put in place Continue reading

Powelson leaves FERC with a split board as Sabal Trail loses legal cases 2018-07-02

Just one day before FERC admitted Sierra Club won in D.C. District Court, and a week after Sabal Trail Sabal Trail lost a jury trial in the U.S. Middle District of Georgia in Valdosta, something else at FERC put pause to further pipeline and LNG export rubberstamps.

Ellen M. Gilmer, Rod Kuckro and Sam Mintz, E&& News, 2 July 2018, Powelson’s departure means fallout for pipelines, policies,

Robert F. Powelson by FERC
Photo: FERC, of Robert F. Powelson, via E&E News

Robert Powelson’s decision to exit the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission less than a year into his term could leave natural gas pipeline developers in the lurch and policy critics scrambling for how to approach the commission’s coming 2-2 partisan split.

That’s the consensus among Continue reading

WCTV: Celebrating victory against Sabal Trail

Emma Wheeler, WCTV, 27 June 2018, Landowners, environmentalists celebrate ‘small victory’ over Sabal Trail,

The Sabal Trail natural gas pipeline was granted eminent domain in order to run through some of the private properties along its path. In doing so it was required to offer what the defense calls ‘just compensation.’

Eminent domain

One Moultrie land owner was offered around $20,000 for an easement on his property. This week a jury, siding with the land owner, decided that was not enough.

Sabal Trail is now ordered to pay five times that amount, more than Continue reading