Update 2016-02-22: We all won by a landslide in the Georgia House! There’s more to do tomorrow until Sabal Trail is ended for good; see below.
John S. Quarterman, VDT, 2016-03-22, Still possible to keep Sabal Trail out,
After two years going to Sabal Trail open houses and FERC scoping meetings, filing e-comments, guiding them to the river crossings and a legal hearing in Jasper, FERC still tells us customers for Spectra Energy from Houston, Texas, constitute a need that outweighs local property rights, environmental destruction, and hazards to our Withlacoochee and Suwannee rivers and the Floridan Aquifer, and to taxes, life, and limb.
Yet Georgia is the fastest-growing U.S. solar market, while solar power deployed nationwide doubles every two years. Since 2015, the solar industry has more jobs than all of oil and gas extraction. Stanford Professor Mark Z. Jacobson’s research group’s detailed plans show how to power Georgia, Florida, and all 50 states on sun, wind, and water power and nothing else.
Georgia Power’s parent Southern Company last May embraced solar power, helped pass a Georgia law to facilitate solar financing, and last month bought a smart grid company to better integrate sun and wind power into its electricity mix. Even Sabal Trail customer and funder Florida Power and Light’s parent, NextEra Energy, is heavily investing in solar and wind power.
Florida has no need to double down on dirty 20th century fossil fuels, now that solar power for the Sunshine State is cheaper, faster to install, requires no eminent domain, risks no water, and is far safer and cleaner.
Many new groups and individuals have realized this and have joined the opposition to Sabal Trail. And all its ugly stepsisters: five already-approved liquid natural gas export operations on both Florida coasts, two schemes to ship LNG by rail and road as far as Miami and Jacksonville, and another natural gas pipeline already in FERC permitting by Kinder Morgan to connect Sabal Trail from Suwannee County to Jaxport, which has been loudly gearing up for LNG export for years. Enough greed for profit at our expense!
You can help call on our elected officials, local, state, and federal, to stop this pipeline boondoggle that benefits nothing but greed for profit by a few companies.
Ask Georgia, Florida, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers not to issue any permits; see www.wwals.net/issues/stt/.
Let the sun rise over the rivers and aquifer on which our life depends.
John S. Quarterman, president, WWALS Watershed Coalition, Inc. Waterkeeper® affiliate for the upper Suwannee River watershed.
Please call your Georgia state representative today and ask them to vote against SR 954.
Two of our local state legislators told me today that all Lowndes County landowners in the pipeline have settled with the pipeline company. Well those landowners are in luck! Payments from Sabal Trail are at-risk to Sabal Trail: landowners get to keep them if the pipeline doesn’t happen. And just because they got a one-time payment doesn’t mean they would be happy in the many years in which they’d have to put up fences and gates and keep out trespassers and put up with pipeline company mowers trimming their trees not on the pipeline and leaving gates open (I have two pipelines on my property). Plus pipelines draw other pipelines. Look at the way this one is following the old one. And what would stop Spectra from putting a second pipeline on the same easement, like they plan to do in British Columbia? Here are still more reasons accepting a natural gas easement is a bad idea.
You can, like Hmilton County Florida just did, ask the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to do independent site visits to discover for itself the sinkholes and springs Sabal Trail didn’t tell them about.
You can ask U.S. Senators to ask the General Accounting Office to investigate and rein in FERC.
And FERC itself this month denied a pipeline in Oregon for many of the same reasons we oppose Sabal Trail.
There are six rehearing requests to FERC, including from Sabal Trail and Transco. You can ask the Georgia legislature today to give FERC even more reason to deny Sabal Trail on rehearing.
We can still stop this invasion by a pipeline company from Houston, Texas at local expense.
Let the sun rise!
You can join this fun and work by becoming a WWALS member today!