Monthly Archives: October 2015

Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail Logo Contest

College students who like paddling on our rivers or art or both, here’s a contest! (flyer PDF)

Update 2015-12-16: Deadline extended to January 15th, 2016, recently featured in the Valdosta Daily Times, and winners to be presented with prizes at the February 27th Workshop at VSU.

VDT headline

Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail Logo Contest

Create a logo

Sponsored by WWALS Watershed Coalition, Inc. (WWALS)

WWALS advocates for conservation and stewardship of the
Withlacoochee, Willacoochee, Alapaha, Little, and Upper Suwannee River watersheds in south Georgia and north Florida
through awareness, environmental monitoring, and citizen activities

Create a logo to represent the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail

Open to college students who live or study within the WithIacoochee and Little River Watershed
(Counties: Tilt, Berrien, Cook, Lanier, Lowndes, Colquitl, Brooks in Georgia and Hamilton, Madison and Suwannee in Florida.)
Deadline: December 15, 2015 January 15, 2016 NO cost to enter
PRIZES: 1st Place $100 and use in publications and websites to promote the Water Trail.
Runner-Up $50
E-mail a pdf of your design and completed application information to: RiverLogoContest@gmail.com
Save image at Continue reading

WWALS moves to enter EPA letter to FERC into evidence in Florida case

Everyone from the Atlanta Journal-Constition to the Palm Beach Post to the Ocala StarBanner Comes now, Petitioner... and moves.... considers the EPA letter to FERC to be of great significance. WWALS agrees, and has filed a motion to ask the judge to take notice in WWALS v. Sabal Trail & DEP.

§ 373.414 Florida Statutes, begins:

(1) As part of an applicant’s demonstration that an activity regulated under this part will not be harmful to the water resources or will not be inconsistent with the overall objectives of the district, the governing board or the department shall require the applicant to provide reasonable assurance that state water quality standards applicable to waters as defined in s. 403.031(13) will not be violated and reasonable assurance that such activity in, on, or over surface waters or wetlands, as delineated in s. 373.421(1), is not contrary to the public interest. However, if such an activity significantly degrades or is within an Outstanding Florida Water, as provided by department rule, the applicant must provide reasonable assurance that the proposed activity will be clearly in the public interest.

Not just “not contrary to the public interest”. For an Outstanding Florida Water applicant (Sabal Trail) “must provide reasonable assurance that the proposed activity will be clearly in the public interest.” The Suwannee River is an Outstanding Florida Water. And the EPA letter is pretty good evidence that Sabal Trail did not provide such reasonable assurance.

Filed October 30, 2015 4:43 PM Division of Administrative Hearings (also PDF on WWALS website): Continue reading

Ocala StarBanner heard the EPA watchdog bark

Will the Suwannee County BOCC heed this call?

Editorial, Ocala StarBanner, 29 October 2015, A public watchdog when one’s needed

For more than two years opponents of the Sabal Pipeline have been denouncing the natural gas pipeline project as a threat to North Florida’s groundwater supply and sinkhole-prone geology, only to be waved off by state and federal regulators. It seemed those empowered to protect the people’s interests were not listening.

That is, until this week. At the 11th hour of the public comment [period, the U.S. Continue reading

Pictures: Sullivan Launch to Madison Blue Spring Withlacoochee River 2015-10-24

A fine day, balmy, breezy, sunny, with springs and rapids and fine company, Onwards from Hardee Spring 30.5444069, -83.2500076 from Sullivan Launch to Madison Blue Spring on the Withlacoochee River, in the October WWALS Outing, October 24, 2015. This is part of the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail, and you can join the committee!

Below are some pictures. Click on any small picture to see a larger version. Pictured: many shoals and rapids. The Pinetta gage (pictured) read 6.4 feet. Any lower and more dragging boats would have been necessary. Lots of cypress, oaks, pines, and other native species.

Pinetta Gage steps and old-style measure 30.5957374, -83.2598038 Not pictured: a large turtle, numerous birds (heron, ibis, hawk, buzzard, others), and fish (mullet, bass). No gators. Very few invasive species, except the notorious Japanese climbing fern.

Coming up next: Continue reading

Videos: More WWALS witnesses, rebuttal, Spectra speaks, and WWALS counsel summation in Day 3, WWALS v. Sabal Trail & FDEP 2015-10-21

Willard Randall, expert welder Sabal Trail didn’t want to hear that Sierra Club is funding part of WWALS’ legal expenses and they really didn’t want to hear about Spectra’s speckled history of safety and compliance. The Respondents also didn’t expect the WWALS pipeline welder expert witness in this third and last day of the final hearing.

DEP tried to argue their own key applicant process substance person couldn’t qualify as an expert witness for WWALS. A sitting Suwannee County Commissioner testified. A fireman who lives near the proposed compressor station said a few words about Sabal Trail saying one thing and doing another. A string of WWALS witnesses talked about generations of use and enjoyment, joining WWALS because WWALS took in the upper Suwannee as territory, more new WWALS members, WWALS as a Waterkeeper® Alliance Affiliate.

The Respondents rebuttal witnesses were Continue reading

Get Sabal Trail out of vulnerable karst –EPA to FERC

Avoid the whole most vulnerable area of the Floridan Aquifer, you risk drinking water wells and environmental justice communities, you didn’t even identify Clean Water Act mitigations, neglect isn’t mitigation, and stop just tweaking Sabal Trail’s preferred route even if Sabal Trail is at risk by its contract: your process is broken, FERC! Furthermore, all agencies means you, too, FERC, about the December 2014 Revised Draft Guidance for Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Climate Change Impacts. This project is so bad EPA is setting aside its stance that natural gas is cleaner and demanding a full life cycle analysis of the Transco – Sabal Trail – FSC project.

Above I paraphrase, but I do not exaggerate the severity and extent of EPA’s criticisms of FERC’s DEIS for the proposed Sabal Trail pipeline. Read it for yourself below.

EPA specifically criticizes the proposed HDD drilling under the Withlacoochee River slightly upstream from Blue (Wade) Spring, and going anywhere through the eroded karst sinkhole-prone terrain of southern Brooks and Lowndes Counties, Georgia, as well as in Florida through the Cody Scarp with its springs, swallets, siphons, and merging sinkholes, under the Suwannee River, over Falmouth Cave, and under the Santa Fe River.

Florida Sierra Club did this: Continue reading

New fallers and a sign on the bridge: pictures of Kayaktivism 2015-10-03

Signs, no pipeline, new fallers, and a fine day on the Withlacoochee River No Pipeline! --Ashlie Prain 30.8930683, -83.3185959 from Langdale Park to the US 41 bridge: here are some pictures of Kayaktivism, October 3rd 2015.

Thanks to Ashlie Marie Prain and others for organizing this event by the Valdosta State University (VSU) Anthropology Club, the VSU Sociology Club, and Students Against Violating the Environment (S.A.V.E.), which was also cleanup for Keep Lowndes/Valdosta Beautiful (KLVB), and a WWALS Field Trip, plus Tom Hochschild was there for the Lowndes County Democratic Party (LCDP), which, like WWALS, is an intervenor on FERC Sabal Trail Docket No. CP15-17.

Don’t forget to e-comment to FERC today! Today’s the deadline for e-comments about the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS).

Special thanks to Continue reading

Last Call to E-Comment to FERC about DEIS 2015-10-26

Speak up today and be heard by FERC and the whole world watching!

Update 4:30 PM 26 Oct 2015: I called FERC and was told e-comments or e-filings any time today or even tomorrow will be fine. Paper mail postmarked today will be fine. I was told they’re more interested in getting the comments than in exactly when they’re sent. But don’t wait very long.

Here’s how to e-comment.

Simple is good: “I love the Withlacoochee River (or the Suwannee River, or Okapilco Creek, or….) and I don’t want a huge pipeline drilled under it.”

Or: “We’ve got enough sinkholes without risking more with a pipeline that doesn’t even benefit us.”

Just write what you mean and send it in.

If you want inspiration, here’s what many other people have said.

But don’t get hung up on trying to review all the background: just say what you mean. Say it today!

-jsq

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

Videos: WWALS witnesses in Day 2, WWALS v. Sabal Trail & FDEP 2015-10-20

Dennis Price cross-examination DEP’s only witness yesterday, today also a witness for WWALS, couldn’t find a document she needed in the Respondents’ cartload (literally) of documents, not even with the help of five Respondent attorneys, yet everyone could find items in the two WWALS exhibit books quite readily.

We also learned that concerns were irrelevant, only actual effects on WWALS members count, which made it too difficult for Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson to get qualified as an expert witness, even though she has assisted DEP and SRWMD in environmental issues. And we couldn’t talk about air quality issues, since DEP already issued an air quality permit for the Sabal Trail Hildreth compressor station in Suwannee County, so what David Shields could talk about was very limited, even though he and his family with their organic farm live downwind of that compressor station. However, WWALS expert witness Dennis Price hit geological questions out of the ballpark. And a cow did fall into a sinkhole.

Here are WWALS videos of each witness, followed by a video playlist. See also much more about this case, including videos of the other two days, and how you can help WWALS defend our members, the Suwannee River, and the Floridan Aquifer.