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WWALS Press Releases
Valdosta resident wins WWALS kayak raffle,
Valdosta, July 13, 2017 — In a surprise to everyone, out of a box of raffle tickets for people as far as a thousand miles away, the winner was not only from Valdosta, he was in the room! No one was more surprised than winner Jeffrey Hinson Patton, seen here with the kayak he’s named Little Miss Sunshine. We’re sure he and she will be on a river near here soon.
WWALS adds evidence, again asks FERC to stay Sabal Trail, revoke its permit, plus do a SEIS 2017-06-05
June 5, 2017, Hahira, GA — Citing the sea change of solar power overtaking natural gas in new U.S. electricity last year, and generational damage to the fields of farmers such as Randy Dowdy, WWALS Watershed Coalition today filed more evidence and reasons to stop the Sabal Trail fracked methane pipeline from going into service and to revoke its permit. WWALS filed the same Monday that Sabal Trail Friday asked FERC to authorize turning on the gas. Plus WWALS explicitly requested FERC do a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) to take into account LNG export from Sabal Trail, copious environmental permit violations, and especially new scientific evidence about the Floridan Aquifer.
Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman said: “Such irreparable harm outweighs a few billion dollars spent in error by a few companies.”
Winners, BIG Little River Paddle Race 2017-04-29,
Adel, Georgia, June 4, 2017 — Dwight Griner of Berrien County, Georgia won for the fifth time. A dozen other boats received prizes, as a record number of people paddled in the Fifth Annual BIG Little River Paddle Race, April 29, 2017. Tifton and Tift County had the most paddlers, but the awards show more boats from Moultrie and Colquitt County. Lowndes had the second most paddlers, and there were two people each from Cook and from far-away Houston and Harris Counties, and one from Thomas County.
WWALS asks FERC to deny Sabal Trail’s in-service request and to revoke its permit,
Hahira, GA, May 26, 2017 — WWALS Watershed Coalition today asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to “stay, stop, or deny all requests to place any project facilities into service” for the Southeast Markets Pipeline Project (SMPP) including Sabal Trail. Further “WWALS as an intervenor formally requests FERC to revoke its Certificate of Convenience and Necessity for SMPP.”
Hands Across the Sand on the Suwannee this Saturday
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Live Oak, FL, May 18, 2017 — With nationwide Hands Across the Sand this weekend Suwannee Riverkeeper will “Say NO to dirty fuels and YES to clean energy.” We’ve been saying that since 2013, and we say it again on our outing four hours this month down the sunny Suwannee River from Woods Ferry Tract Launch to Suwannee Springs. Be there at 9AM so we can stop on a sand beach at high noon for Hands Across the Sand!
Outing details: http://www.wwals.net/?p=33217
About Suwannee Riverkeeper:
John S. Quarterman is the Suwannee Riverkeeper®, which is a staff position and a project of WWALS Watershed Coalition (WWALS) as the Member of the Waterkeeper® Alliance for the Suwannee River basin. WWALS advocates for conservation and stewardship of the Withlacoochee, Willacoochee, Alapaha, Little, and Suwannee River watersheds in south Georgia and north Florida through education, awareness, environmental monitoring, and citizen activities. WWALS has supported solar power and opposed the Sabal Trail fracked methane pipeline since 2013.
Contact:WWALS Watershed Coalition
P.O. Box 88
Hahira, GA 31632
John S. Quarterman, Suwannee Riverkeeper
- 2017-05-03: Record-holding farmer, land destroyed by Sabal Trail, in Valdosta at pipeline safety meeting
- 2017-03-23: Water, Agriculture, and Forestry: public meeting @ VSU by WWALS 2017-03-28
- 2017-01-30: 5th Annual BIG Little River Paddle Race with grilling and silent auction 2017-04-29
- 2017-01-20: Tallahassee: Hold Regulatory Agencies Accountable for Sabal Trail and FSC fracked gas pipelines 2017-01-23
Rivers against Sabal Trail in Live Oak 7PM Jan 12 2017 —Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®
Live Oak, Florida, January 4, 2017 —Spectra Energy of Houston, Texas is drilling its 36-inch fracked methane pipeline under the Suwannee and Withlacoochee (south) Rivers in Florida right now. It already caused a frac-out of drilling mud into the Withlacoochee River in Georgia and a sinkhole, plus more sinkholes where it drilled under the Santa Fe River in Florida. How did this happen? What can we do to stop this unnecessary, destructive, and hazardous corporate boondoggle?
Suwannee Riverkeeper calls water protectors to rally in Live Oak against the Sabal Trail pipeline and for our property rights, rivers, and the Floridan Aquifer.
2016-12-30: WWALS becomes Suwannee RIVERKEEPER,
Hahira, Georgia; December 30, 2016 — The Waterkeeper Alliance Board of Directors has approved its Affiliate WWALS Watershed Coalition, Inc. to become a Member. The newly appointed Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®, John S. Quarterman, will work to protect and preserve the Suwannee River Basin by combining his firsthand knowledge of the waterways with an unwavering commitment to the rights of the community and to the rule of law.
“Waterkeeper Alliance is thrilled to have Suwannee RIVERKEEPER® to be the eyes, ears, and voice for this vital watershed and community,” said Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., President of Waterkeeper Alliance. “Every community deserves to have swimmable, drinkable and fishable water, and John S. Quarterman is the right leader to fight for clean water in the region.”
The Suwannee RIVERKEEPER® will be a full-time advocate for the Suwannee River and its tributaries, including the Withlacoochee, Willacoochee, Alapaha, Little, and Suwannee Rivers in Georgia and Florida, protecting and restoring water quality through community action and enforcement. Quarterman stated, “Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®’s aim is to provide strong advocacy that will result in an improved quality of life for all citizens, whether they rely on it for drinking water or recreation or whether they simply value the Suwannee River Basin’s continued well-being.”
- 2016-11-14: GWC Dirty Dozen Press Conference at US 84 Withlacoochee River Bridge with tour of Sabal Trail HDD #NoDAPL #NoSabalTrail #WaterIsLife 2016-11-16
Sabal Trail still leaking drilling mud into the Withlacoochee River at US 84 in GA,
Hahira, GA, November 13th 2016 — Apparently Sabal Trail continues to leak drilling mud into the Withlacoochee River, three weeks after it admitted to GA-EPD that its pilot hole under the river had leaked up into the riverbed.
WWALS members Deanna and Chris Mericle went to the US 84 bridge between Quitman and Valdosta, Georgia, and walked up the river to the site, about 2000 feet upstream. You can clearly see the water inside Sabal Trail’s turbidity curtains is not the same color as the river water.
“I am so angry because this is what we said would happen and we were assured the rivers wouldn’t be affected because they were drilling under them. The head woman at FDEP said exactly that! We told them it was likely because of our karst geology and we got patronized and patted on the head. You can guarantee they will downplay it and just drill another hole. I am pissed,” said WWALS member Deanna Mericle, who drafted the WWALS petition for last year’s four-month legal case and three-day hearing in WWALS v Sabal Trail & FDEP.
2016-11-11: Drilling mud oozing up into the Withlacoochee River from Sabal Trail HDD,
Hahira, GA, November 11th 2016 — Sabal Trail leaked drilling mud up from their HDD pilot hole into the Withlacoochee River. They knew this before WWALS asked two weeks ago what is that yellow thing in the river? They did not tell WWALS or the public that this thing they testified could not happen did happen. The evidence is in writing from Sabal Trail’s contractor to the Georgia Environmental Protection Division.
- 2016-11-09: What is Sabal Trail sending into the WIthlacoochee River between Quitman and Valdosta, GA?
Hundreds of Nonprofit Organizations Join to Demand Reform of Rogue Agency
Washington, DC, September 21, 2016 — More than 180 organizations representing communities across America called on leaders in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and House Energy and Commerce Committee to hold congressional hearings into the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) extensive history of bias and abuse. The groups are also requesting reform of the Natural Gas Act, which the groups say, gives too much power to FERC and too little to state and local officials.
“The time has now come for Congress to investigate how FERC is using its authority and to recognize that major changes are in fact necessary in order to protect people, including future generations, from the ramifications of FERC’s misuse of its power and implementation of the Natural Gas Act,” says Maya van Rossum, the Delaware Riverkeeper, leader of the Delaware Riverkeeper Network and a primary organizer of the effort.
“A prime example of FERC’s dereliction of duty to the public benefit is the Sabal Trail fracked methane pipeline Spectra Energy is drilling through Alabama, Georgia, and Florida and under our Withlacoochee River in Georgia and our Suwannee River in Florida,” says John S. Quarterman, president of WWALS Watershed Coalition, Inc. (WWALS), the Waterkeeper® Affiliate for the upper Suwannee River. He added, “FERC failed in its due diligence by opaque selection of environmental contractors, by issuing its permit before permits from two states and the Army Corps, by ignoring copious new geological and other evidence, and by giving Sabal Trail construction go-ahead while a lawsuit is still pending by Flint Riverkeeper, Sierra Club, Gulf Restoration Network, and others, including construction through properties whose landowners have not even had eminent domain compensation hearings. Most egregiously, despite FPL, the source of the $3 billion for this boondoggle, admitting in its 2016 Ten Year Plan that Florida needs no new electricity until 2024 at the earliest, FERC refuses to even reconsider the alleged “need” for this unnecessary, destructive, and hazardous pipeline. Corporate profits for Spectra Energy from Houston, Texas and Enbridge from Calgary, Alberta are no justification for taking local land and risking our water, air, taxes, and safety.”
2016-09-06: FPL admits Florida needs no new electricity, so why should Sabal Trail get eminent domain?
Two Georgia brothers are stuck with paying almost ten times as much in Sabal Trail’s legal fees as they spent defending their property against that invading fracked methane pipeline, even though FPL apparently admitted this year that all three of its 2013 excuses for that pipeline are no longer valid. Two federal agencies and numerous state agencies issued permits based on those excuses. Sabal Trail used those permits to get eminent domain, including to drill under rivers in Florida, Georgia, and Alabama and through the fragile limestone containing our drinking water in the Floridan Aquifer. It is time for this unnecessary, destructive, and hazardous boondoggle to be shut down and its $3 billion in FPL ratepayer money to be used for solar power in the Sunshine State.
Federal permits inflame opposition to Sabal Trail fracked methane pipeline boondoggle WWALS PR
There is no excuse for $3 billion down this rathole of a 20th century dying fossil fuel industry now that there are more solar power jobs than in all of oil and gas extraction. One federal permit Friday and another federal go-ahead impending for the Sabal Trail invasion of private property and wetlands in Georgia, Florida, and Alabama stiffens the resolve of the rapidly expanding opposition. WWALS Watershed Coalition (WWALS) has revealed apparent wetlands violations and federal rule violations by Spectra Energy, the Houston, Texas pipeline company that wants to gouge under our Withlacoochee and Suwannee Rivers, risking our water supply for its profit. Sierra Club has vowed to use “all legal means necessary to stop this fracked gas pipeline.” Opposition across Georgia continues as dozens of new groups joined the fight a week ago in Gainesville, Florida. News Friday of a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) wetlands permit has inflamed opposition across the country to this latest fossil fuel land and water grab.
- 2016-07-01: New hydrology report exposes Sabal Trail pipeline risk to Floridan Aquifer
- 2016-06-04: Pictures of high school student photography contest winners, Serenity at Lime Run Spring
- 2016-05-23: Prizes awarded to high school students, Serenity at Lime Run Spring photo contest
- 2016-02-28: Winners, student logo contest, Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail, by WWALS
- 2016-02-27: Workshop at VSU: Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail
- 2015-12-29: WWALS exceptions to judge’s recommended order in WWALS v. Sabal Trail & FDEP
- 2015-12-18: EPA stepped back, while opposition ramps up against Sabal Trail fracked methane pipeline
- 2015-11-17: Sabal Trail pipeline challenged by recommended order, plus Suwannee County resolution tonight
- 2015-09-04: FL-DEP grants hearing to WWALS against Sabal Trail pipeline under Suwannee River
WWALS petition against Sabal Trail dismissed by FL-DEP on technicality, not real issues
Hamilton County resident and WWALS-FL registered agent Chris Mericle summed it up:
“We can not continue to carve up our countryside like a cheap piece of meat and sell it to the highest bidder.”
Filing petition with Florida Friday against Sabal Trail: WWALS Watershed Coalition
August 27th, 2015, Hahira — Continuing to oppose the unnecessary, destructive, and hazardous invading Sabal Trail natural gas pipeline, WWALS Watershed Coalition will file Friday an amended petition with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FL-DEP) opposing that agency’s intent to issue a permit for Sabal Trail Transmission to bore its 36-inch pipeline from Hamilton County to Suwannee County under the Suwannee River in Florida.
- 2015-06-23: Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail Committee members wanted by WWALS Watershed Coalition
- 2015-06-20: Board and Committee members sought by WWALS Watershed Coalition, a WATERKEEPER® Affiliate
- 2015-06-12: WWALS Watershed Coalition becomes a Waterkeeper Affiliate to Patrol and Protect the Withlacoochee and Alapaha Rivers and all their tributaries.
- 2015-04-27: Third Annual BIG Little River Paddle Race PR 2015-05-16
- 2015-03-16: South Georgia talent won the Alapaha River Water Trail Logo Contest
- 2015-03-10: Prizes to high school logo contest winners Saturday at Alapaha River Water Trail Conference
- 2015-02-12: WWALS supports Florida fracking ban
- 2015-01-14: High school student logo contest for Alapaha River Water Trail
- 2014-12-19: WWALS moves to intervene with FERC about Sabal Trail pipeline
- 2014-11-07: WWALS at Alapaha Celebration Days 8 November 2014
- 2014-11-02: WWALS signs letter to county commissions opposing the Sabal Trail pipeline
- 2014-10-29: Alabama Sierra Club Retreat talk against Sabal Trail pipeline
- 2014-10-22: Bill Gates gobbling up Georgia farmland, too
- 2014-10-22: GWC DD#9: Sabal Trail pipeline threatens Withlacoochee River and Floridan Aquifer
- 2014-10-22: Withlacoochee River & Floridan Aquifer: Gas Pipeline Threatens Southwest Georgia Water, Way of Life, GWC Dirty Dozen
- 2014-10-04: Annual Flatlander Canoe and Kayak Race in Lakeland 5 October 2014
- 2014-10-02: WWALS table at Aquifer Conference, Monticello, FL, 2014-10-2,3,4
- 2014-07-30: Water and property rights more important than methane pipeline profits
- 2014-07-21: WWALS receives Alapaha Water Trail grant from Georgia River Network
- 2013-04-29: South Georgia author Janisse Ray fundraiser for WWALS Watershed Coalition
- 2013-02-18: Alapaha River Park?
- 2013-01-10: Veteran River Conservationist Gordon Rogers spoke to new WWALS Watershed Coalition