Tag Archives: Safety

Nashville, Georgia, resolution opposing strip mining in or near the Okefenokee Swamp

Thank you, Nashville, Georgia, Mayor and Council, for passing a resolution supporting the Okefenokee Swamp against the proposed strip mine.

[City of Nashville Resolution and Okefenokee NWR sign]
City of Nashville Resolution and Okefenokee NWR sign

For the increasing number of these resolutions, see:
https://wwals.net/?p=57248

Please ask your Georgia statehouse members to pass HB 71. Floridians, ask your friends and relatives in Georgia to do that. And ask your city or county in Florida to also pass a resolution.

For more about this issue, see:
https://wwals.net/issues/titanium-mining/

The resolution

Continue reading

Videos: Quarterman Road rezoning unanimously denied @ LCC 2023-09-12

Update 2023-09-26: Curious omissions from the minutes; see Packet: Golf carts, mental health, wetland credits, regional transit, Lift Station and Fire Station Access Roads, 2 TIA Road Bids @ LCC 2023-09-25.

The Lowndes County Commission unanimously denied the inappropriate 2.5-acre rezoning proposed on minimum 5-acre and predominantly agriculture, forestry, and conservation Quarterman Road, after five local residents spoke against and nobody for.

[Collage, Quarterman Road rezoning denied by Lowndes County Commission 2023-09-12]
Collage, Quarterman Road rezoning denied by Lowndes County Commission 2023-09-12

Thanks to all who signed the petition against that rexoning, who called or wrote County Commissioners, who spoke in the Planning Commission or County Commission meetings, and thanks to the County Commisisoners for denying the rezoning.

Among the five who spoke at the County Commission were Gretchen Quarterman (who also took the videos for Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange (LAKE)) and Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman (details on both are below). He made sure the Commissioners had a copy of the WWALS letter that had mysteriously been left out of the board packet; thanks to WWALS President Sara Jay Jones for signing that letter.

This denial comes after two previous denials, both also in an Agriculture/Forestry/Conservation Character Area, both also provoking many petition signatures and speakers in opposition, including WWALS.

Maybe developers will get the picture that development is not appropriate in such a Character Area, especially when wetlands and waterways are affected.

County Planner

It is interesting the extent to which a development mindset can color a presentation by a County Planner. I was just going to mention one example of that, but as I listened to the LAKE video of his presentation, I kept noticing more examples. Continue reading

No testing due to rivers in flood and hurricane obstructions in roads 2023-08-31

For the first time in years, there is no WWALS weekly water quality report this week.

[Rivers in flood, deadfall on power lines on road]
Rivers in flood, deadfall on power lines on road

We did not sample yesterday, because:

  • After Hurricane Idalia, many roads are still obstructed by downed trees and power lines.
  • The Withlacoochee River was in flood, and the Alapaha is heading up there.

For the above reasons, we would not recommend fishing, swimming, or boating this weekend on the Withlacoochee or Alapaha Rivers. The Little River is not in flood, but it’s pretty high and fast. On all three rivers, in addition to the usual flood issues, there are likely to be new deadfalls.

The Santa Fe, Ichetucknee, and Suwannee Rivers were much less affected, so if you want to go out this weekend, please go there.

The only sewage spill so far reported in the Suwannee River Basin in Georgia or Florida is Continue reading

WWALS Public Comments on Mining Land Use Plan of Twin Pines Minerals, LLC, too near the Okefenokee Swamp 2023-03-17

March 17, 2023

Land Protection Branch,
4244 International Parkway,
Atlanta Tradeport- Suite 104,
Atlanta, Georgia 30354

twinpines.comment@dnr.ga.gov

RE: WWALS Public Comments on Mining Land Use Plan of Twin Pines Minerals, LLC (PDF)

Dear EPD,

This letter recommends denying the permit applications by Twin Pines Minerals, LLC (TPM) to mine for titanium dioxide (TiO2) near the Okefenokee Swamp, based on specifics of the Mining Land Use Plan,1 as requested in the Notice of the Opportunity for Public Comment.2

[Please deny the mining permits]
Please deny the mining permits

Why this decision is important far away

First, we present some context for why this decision is important far away from the Okefenokee Swamp.

Any lowered water level or dewatering of the surface around the Swamp increases the risk of fires. The 2007 Bugaboo fire spread smoke west across the Suwannee River Basin, causing respiratory distress 80 miles away in Quitman, continuing 450 miles to Meridian, Mississippi. Southwards the smoke closed I-75 and went 370 miles to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. North it went 250 miles to Atlanta.

During the 2017 West Mims fire, Lowndes County Fire (along with Valdosta and its other cities, and nearby counties) sent assistance from 75 miles away. They were among 900 firefighters from across the country.3 “There’s nobody Continue reading

Unacceptable risk to mine near the Okefenokee Swamp –U.S. Interior Secretary Haaland 2022-12-07

She finally said what she did not say when she toured the Okefenokee Swamp back in September.

You can also tell the state of Georgia to stop the proposed strip mine far too close to the Okefenokee Swamp, the headwaters of the Suwannee and St. Marys Rivers, above the Floridan Aquifer from which we all drink.

[Interior Secretary Haaland in the Okefenokee Swamp 2022-09-16 Photo: Shannon Estenoz and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service]
Interior Secretary Haaland in the Okefenokee Swamp 2022-09-16 Photo: Shannon Estenoz and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Russ Bynam, AP in the AJC, 7 December 2022, Interior secretary: `Unacceptable’ to mine near famed swamp,

A member of President Joe Biden’s Cabinet is urging Georgia officials to deny permits for a proposed mine near the edge of the famed Okefenokee Swamp and its vast wildlife refuge

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — A member of President Joe Biden’s Cabinet is urging Georgia officials to deny permits for a proposed mine near the edge of the famed Okefenokee Swamp and its vast wildlife refuge, saying the plan poses “unacceptable risk” to the swamp’s fragile ecology.

“I write to express Continue reading

WWALS response to opposition comments by Eagle LNG about small, inland LNG 2022-10-17

Safety, water, air, and economy are still at risk because of the regulatory gap FERC opened in 2014 and 2015 when it abandoned oversight of small, inland, LNG facilities. That gap has left PHMSA holding the bag for environmental oversight, which PHMSA does not do. It has left DoE FE authorizing LNG export licenses with no environmental oversight.

WWALS supplied much new evidence and developments about the safety, environmental, and economic effects of such facilities in this rebuttal of opposition comments by Eagle LNG. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) should take this new information into account in opening a Rulemaking to revisit, reconsider, and possibly revoke its decisions to abandon oversight of such facilities.

[Introduction, Conclusion]
Introduction, Conclusion

The letter

On October 17, 2022, WWALS filed this PDF with FERC as Accession Number 20221017-5134, “RESPONSE of WWALS Watershed Coalition, Inc. to opposition comments by EAGLE LNG under RM22-21-000.”

See also: Continue reading

Hurricane Ian will send wide winds and rain, so be prepared @ LCC 2022-09-26

Floridians probably already know to be prepared for Hurricane Ian, which seems likely to run right up the Suwannee River. But even if it swerves around you, it’s wide and may affect you anyway.

Here is an emergency management report from Lowndes County, Georgia, around 80 miles inland from the Gulf. Even here, even if Ian goes east along the Atlantic coast, there may be significant rain and wind. And of course if Ian goes over the Okefenokee Swamp, water will come down the Suwannee River.

EMA Director Ashley Tye reported at the Lowndes County Commission Regular Session Monday morning, September 26, 2022. For up-to-date reports, see the National Hurricane Center.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

You can join this fun and work by becoming a WWALS member today!
https://wwals.net/donations/

Comment on FERC LNG Export Rulemaking with Florida Physicians for Social Responsibility, 2022-09-20

Update 2022-10-04: WWALS response to FERC on opposition comments of Pivotal LNG about small, inland LNG Rulemaking 2022-10-04.

Florida Physicians for Social Responsibility has invited Suwannee Riverkeeper to talk about the FERC Rulemaking on small, inland, LNG export facilities on the comment deadline day, as FL PSR members and others write comments on that FERC Docket RM22-21.

You do not have to attend this zoom meeting to comment or intervene. Here’s how:
https://wwals.net/?p=59062#tocomment

Please comment or intervene as timely as you can before the comment deadline of 5PM, Tuesday, September 20, 2022. However, a FERC attorney advises us that the Commission usually considers comments filed after the deadline, so if you can’t comment by 5PM, comment anyway.

When: 7 PM – 7:45 PM, Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Register: for zoom

Event: facebook,

[FL PSR & WWALS comment on FERC LNG Export]
FL PSR & WWALS comment on FERC LNG Export

Continue reading

FERC must close regulatory gaps in small-scale inland LNG export facilities –Cecile Scofield 2022-08-11

Update 2022-09-19: Comment on FERC LNG Export Rulemaking with Florida Physicians for Social Responsibility 2022-09-20.

Update 2022-09-13: One week left to comment on FERC LNG Rulemaking, deadline 2022-09-20.

Should citizens be expected to pay $33,690 to file a Petition for Declaratory Order just to get FERC to oversee LNG facilities like the law says they should?

Cecile Scofield details many other problems FERC created back in 2014 and 2015 when it abdicated oversight of Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) export facilities that do not load directly onto onceangoing tanker ships.

[Flaws in FERC's reasoning; citizens cannot be expected to police LNG]
Flaws in FERC’s reasoning; citizens cannot be expected to police LNG

You can also file comments on FERC Rulemakeing for small inland LNG export facilities, started at the request of WWALS et. al. Your comments do not have to be as elaborate as Cecile’s, and you have until September 20, 2022.

Your organization could also intervene on FERC Docket RM22-21, as two organizations have done: Public Citizen and Food and Water Watch.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

You can join this fun and work by becoming a WWALS member today!
https://wwals.net/donations/


FERC Accession Number 20220811-5068 in FERC Docket RM22-21, SMALL-SCALE INLAND LNG EXPORT FACILITIES: FERC MUST CLOSE REGULATORY GAPS (see also PDF)

Purpose of Petition for Rulemaking:

The proposed Rulemaking is needed to clear up ambiguity as to Continue reading

Personnel and trash at Valdosta City Council 2022-08-11

It wasn’t us this time.

Council Sandra Tooley brought up trash, Click ‘n’ Fix, and Valdosta’s favorite excuse for not doing much: “we’re short on staff“ and “A lot of people have a lot of things going on in their departments.” This was in the last five minutes of the August 11, 2022, Valdosta City Council meeting.

[Council Sandra Tooley requests Executive Session about personnel and trash]
Council Sandra Tooley requests Executive Session about personnel and trash

The Mayor said they had a request for an Executive Session, and asked for a motion. Council Tim Carroll wondered why.

Council Sandra Tooley explained, “Citizens have come to me, and they have this thing they like to say, that we do not have enough staff, that we’re short on staff, that we’re not getting things done.”

See for yourself in this excerpt of Valdosta’s own facebook live video of the meeting. Continue reading