Category Archives: Economy

Defeat Suncoast Connector 2019-04-05

Please call your Florida state legislators to ask them to oppose a toll expressway across the Suwannee River, and maybe even across the Santa Fe or Ichetucknee Rivers. Instead, let’s do Amtrak passenger trains for better transportation and solar power for jobs and lower energy prices.

Map, Suncoast Connector, Defenders of Wildlife
Suncoast Connector, Defenders of Wildlife

This boondoogle would come up from Citrus County to Jefferson County. That’s all the bills (SB 7068 or HB 7113) say about the route.

Defenders of Wildlife has a corridor map that shows Suncoast Connector coming from Crystal River in Citrus County, through Gilchrist and maybe Alachua Counties, possibly crossing the Santa Fe River into Columbia County and the Ichetucknee River into Suwannee County. It would have to cross the Suwannee River somewhere, maybe into Dixie or Lafayette or even Madison County, heading on through Taylor County to Monticello in Jefferson County.

Here’s a better way to improve transportation in the Suwannee River Basin: revive Amtrak through Madison and Lake City. The tracks are already there, so Continue reading

AGL could face millions for blast 2019-04-03

On the front page of the newspaper of record in the biggest city in the Suwannee River Basin, yesterday in the Valdosta Daily Times, is a story by Terry Richards about the GA-PSC report on the AGL pipeline and the August 2018 Homerville, GA explosion that destroyed a coffeeshop and sent three women to the hospital with third-degree burns.

[Front Page]

The VDT did a bit of reporting by contacting AGL and its contractor: Continue reading

GA-PSC report on AGL pipeline and Homerville August 2017 explosion 2019-03-29

Update 2019-04-04: Actually the gas did go through a sewer pipe; AGL didn’t locate or mark that pipe, either. And the GA-PSC report was on the front page yesterday of the newspaper of the largest city in the Suwannee River Basin.

Maybe the gas didn’t go up a sewer pipe to the coffee shop after all. And in its long-awaited report, Pipeline Safety at the Georgia Public Service Commission is not letting AGL hand the blame to its contractors. This recommended fine does not look like the previous slap on the wrist.

[Filed]

GA-PSC says AGL failed to locate and mark its pipeline in use and failed to locate “their abandoned natural gas facility at 107 Courtland Ave.,” which is the address of the Coffee Corner which blew up in August 2017 and sent three women to the hospital with third-degree burns.

The report gets worse:

PROBABLE VIOLATION: AGLC failed to consider the use of a valve to stop the flow of gas, or to check the surrounding buildings and confined areas, during the response to this incident, as required by their procedures.

But those are just in the first two items, which only got a $15,000 recommended fine each. The same $15,000 level of fine is recommended for AGL’s failures to test its personnel for drug or alcohol after the incident.

The big item, with a $2,245,000 fine, is for AGL failing Continue reading

Florida Community Solar SB 1156

If you want solar power in Florida, please call your state Senator and ask them to support SB 1156. If incumbent electric utilities don’t get on with solar power, community solar is one of the things that will replace them. Expect utilities and fossil fuel companies to oppose this bill, so it is important for you to support it.

Vote Solar
Florida Introduces Community Solar Legislation to Expand Clean Energy Access, Jobs, by rosalind, Vote Solar, 19 February 2019.

Vote Solar et alia, Press Release, 19 February 2019, Florida Introduces Community Solar Legislation to Expand Clean Energy Access, Jobs, Continue reading

Picture and bills: Capitol Conservation Day 2019-02-20

Wednesday I joined conservation groups from across Georgia to lobby the state legislature, in Capitol Conservation Day 2019, helping move along some bills.

[CCD]
CCD on the Georgia Capitol Steps 2019-02-20
Photo: Erik Voss for Georgia Water Coalition
This photograph can be freely shared, without limitations.

I’m in the hat on the right. Most of the other eight Riverkeepers of Georgia are also in this picture.

At the Bird Supper the previous Wednesday, I discussed two of the same topics and their bills with legislators: trust funds and coal ash.

Stop fee diversions

Jay Powell’s Trust Fund bill passed the Georgia House this same Wednesday, by Continue reading

Four months later, GA-PSC still investigating AGL pipeline Homervile explosion 2018-12-11

Two more months have passed, so I called Bill Edge to ask about progress on the GA-PSC’s investigation of the August 17, 2018, Homerville coffeeshop explosion resulting from AGL pipeline gas. Answer: still investigating, because so many parties are involved, and everyone has attorneys and disclosures to negotiate. He is quite aware many people would like to see a report.

I thanked him sincerely for his organization following up on this incident. He said it was their statutory duty. I said keep up the good work.

Meanwhile, here’s an example of the type of thing to expect:

Alleged Violation and Voluntary Contribution, Settlement Agreement

Whereas, AGL enters into this Settlement Agreement without admitting Continue reading

Valdosta sewer system lift station generators and communications @ LCC 2018-12-06

Maybe you’d like to come compliment Valdosta on the sewer system items on their agenda for tonight (see below), and ask them what they’re doing to prevent WWTP spills, in Citizens to be Heard. That’s 5:30 PM, today, Thursday, December 6, 2018, at Valdosta City Hall, 216 East Central Avenue, Valdosta, Georgia.

Nothing is on the agenda about the recent major spill at the Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant for tonight’s Valdosta City Council meeting.

However, there are three other sewage-related items: Continue reading

FPL Columbia County Solar Farm, fall 2018

East on I-10 just before I-75 southbound crosses: a 74.5 MW FPL solar farm in Columbia County, Florida, well along in construction. I don’t think any newspaper ever called the Sabal Trail fracked methane pipeline a windfall:

Continued, Newspaper
Solar photos: Carl McKinney, Lake City Reporter. Sorry I forgot who sent me this picture of the newspaper front page.

FPL PR 31 July 2018, Construction begins on FPL’s four newest solar power plants, Continue reading

Water amendments passed 2018-11-06

The obvious water constitutional amendments passed resoundingly in both Florida and Georgia.

FL 9 and GA 1, Water Amendments

By well more than the required 60%, Continue reading

Georgia and Florida Constitutional Amendments 2018-11-06

Two Georgia state constitutional amendments are relevant to clean water, of those on the ballot tomorrow in the November 6, 2018, General Election. And in Florida, vote Yes on Florida Amendment 9, to ban offshore oil and gas drilling.

In Georgia I recommend:

  • Yes on 1, the Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Amendment
  • No on 2, appointing instead of electing some judges

Below is why.

Yes on GA 1, Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Amendment

Yes on GA 1

For the title, summary, and detailed constitutional changes, see Continue reading