Category Archives: Economy

Bradford BOCC to schedule phosphate hearing, and economic development 2018-09-04

This Tuesday, Bradford County Commissioners will schedule a public hearing on the phosphate mine application by HPS II. You can go speak or write them a letter.

If the creek don’t rise, I will be there with a video camera. Meanwhile, I have sent them a letter in PDF and an updated copy of the Resolution Against Phosphate Mines in Florida. That Resolution only had five signatures when I last sent it to Bradford BOCC in May, but now 11 of the 14 Waterkeepers of Florida have signed it, and seven of us delivered it to FDEP Secretary Noah Valenstein at the end of July.

When: 9:30 AM Tuesday September 4, 2018

Where: BRADFORD COUNTY COURTHOUSE
945 North Temple Avenue, Starke, Florida 32091

What: on the agenda:

  1. County Attorney’s Report’s — Will Sexton
    1. Schedule the Public Hearing on Application for Special Permit for Mining (Sec. 14.6, LDR’s) submitted on behalf of HPS Enterprise II, LLC.

Nfedp-map,

Also on the agenda is: Continue reading

FPL Echo River Solar Energy Facility, Suwannee County, FL

Let me echo a local resident: “I’m just saying where … is Echo River?” FPL’s new solar farm in Suwannee County just north of I-10 east of Live Oak actually straddles Rocky Creek, which runs north across I-10, through this FPL solar farm, and on into the Suwannee River just downstream of I-75.

Artist impression by FPL, Maps

Jamie Wachter, Suwannee Democrat, and Valdosta Daily Times, 18 May 2018, FPL plans for solar farm off I-10,

LIVE OAK, Fla. — An 800-acre property that once grew timber alongside Interstate 10 in northeastern Suwannee County may soon sprout solar panels.

This 2016 aerial map from the Suwannee County Property Appraiser does show Continue reading

Deadline for FERC rulemaking comments 2018-07-25

In addition to probably signing onto comments by a larger entity, WWALS is preparing comments for FERC in response to its Notice of Inquiry (NOI) about “Certification of New Interstate Natural Gas Facilities”. FERC’s current deadline is this Wednesday, 25 July 2018. Please send any suggestions you may have to wwalswatershed@gmail.com. Or file your own comments. Apologies for the late request.

Here’s what FERC has asked for:

In the NOI, the Commission sought input on whether, and if so how, the Commission should adjust: (1) its methodology for determining whether there is a need for a proposed project, including the Commission’s consideration of precedent agreements and contracts for service as evidence of such need; (2) its consideration of the potential exercise of eminent domain and of landowner interests related to a proposed project; and (3) its evaluation of the environmental impact of a proposed project. The Commission also sought input on whether there are specific changes the Commission could consider implementing to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of its certificate processes including pre-filing, post-filing, and post-order issuance.

South Georgia and north Florida
Sabal Trail through south Georgia and north Florida.
Map by Geology Prof. Can Denizman for WWALS.net, 17 September 2016, as part of Sabal Trail maps digitized.

Here are some relevant documents, starting with a how-to in case you want to file your own comments directly with FERC: Continue reading

Levy Co., FL, ranch invaded by Sabal Trail’s invasive weeds

A pair of ranchers report an epidemic of stillborn calves, four dead mother cows, equipment damaged by too-steep grades, invasive weeds planted as a “cover Crop” by Sabal Trail and now spreading through seeds in cow manure, hay unusable, and:

At this point we are requesting help to repair the land that was never restored. The grade and the grasses require a farmer to repair not a Sable trails employee can repair

We have waited until now for you to not answer or get back with us and still our ranch issues are growing while you look into your options.

WWALS Digitized Pipeline Path, Google Maps, Maps
WWALS Digitized Pipeline Path

Maybe FERC didn’t want the public to see this. FERC’s elibrary shows Accession Number 20180716-5129, Report / Form of alexander cochrane under CP15-17,, but attempts to retrieve the files listed get:

The requested URL was rejected. Please consult with your administrator.

Your support ID is: 7429593144853677013

As so often, FERC’s backup elibrary Continue reading

Nutrien (PCS) mining phosphate and water in Hamilton County and soon in Columbia County? 2018-07-11

Thanks to Jim Tatum of OSFR for spotting this op-ed in the Lake City Reporter yesterday by WWALS member and Practicing Geologist Dennis J. Price of Hamilton County, Florida about Nutrien (PCS) mining phosphate and water in Hamilton County and likely planning to expand to Columbia County.

Dennis Price explains, Down to a sunless sea
Photo by John S. Quarterman of Dennis J. Price at the Dead River of the Alapaha River, 2018-01-27.

To the Editor:

Much has been written in the last year about Sam Oosterhoudt’s mitigation bank. I was involved in permitting the bank through the Army Corps (ACOE) and The Florida Department of Environmental Regulation. It took about 5 years to get all the permits. Now, 9 years after work began on the project, the phosphate company (then PCS now Nutrien) petitioned the state to shut down the mitigation bank.

I do not know for sure, but, Nutrien may tell you that during the recent sale of PCS and the review of mineral interests owned, they discovered that the mitigation bank had snuck in there and set up shop over their minerals. This probably has some truth to it but I think there is a much more involved reason.

In Hamilton County, Nurtrien/PCS is planning to run out of phosphate to mine in about 10 years, give or take a few years either way. I do not believe they are planning on shutting the doors and leaving. Occidental Chemical Company started mining in Hamilton County Continue reading

Landowner wins over Sabal Trail in jury trial, jsq on Scott James radio 2018-06-29

The just compensation for property takings required by the Fifth Amendment is not “just” compensation, said Scott James. And a jury of peers of a landowner told Sabal Trail to pay up five times what it offered for an easement for its fracked gas pipeline.

“…nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”
—Fifth Amendment, U.S. Constitution

Scott said this jury award was big news and asked if it was just compensation. I said yes, front page in the Valdosta Daily Times.


VDT front page

And five times is more just than before. But how is a one-time payment Continue reading

Valdosta spilled 300,000 gallons Tuesday 2018-06-26

For a year and a half, Valdosta had no major sewage spills. Until yesterday. The 300,000 gallons Valdosta spilled uphill from the Withlacoochee River is far more than the 90,000 gallons Albany spilled into the Flint River a month ago, and far more than the 36,000 + 5,400 gallons Tifton spilled into the New River a few weeks ago. It’s even more than the 250,000 gallons Tifton spilled into the Little River last September during Hurricane Irma.

New WWTP site near Withlacoochee River

Sure, 300,000 is less than the millions of gallons Valdosta spilled in January 2017. And sure, Valdosta has spent tens of millions of dollars building a whole new Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) uphill out of the flood plain, and a force main, and mamy other improvements. Sure, the situation is better than it used to be, as I’ve been bragging about on the radio and in this blog recently.

But it was that same new WWTP that spilled yesterday. Sure, what spilled was mostly rainwater.

But people in the seven Florida counties downstream (or in Lowndes and Brooks Counties, Georgia downstream) are not Continue reading

Sabal Trail offers barely-investment-grade bonds

I’ve wondered whatever happened to Andrea Grover since she no longer has landowner “stakeholders” to try to sell on her pipeline. Diagram, Moodys Bond Ratings Turns out she’s selling debt bonds for Sabal Trail now, according to a press release of Monday.

The notes were issued in three tranches as follows (collectively, the “Notes”): $500 million principal amount of 4.246% senior notes due 2028, $600 million principal amount of 4.682% senior notes due 2038, and $400 million principal amount of 4.832% senior notes due 2048.

Those sound like good interest rates, especially that 4.832%. But why is it listed on the Berlin Stock Exchange, and what about that Baa1 Moody’s bond rating? That is eight steps from the top and three steps above “Non-Investment Grade” aka junk bonds.

I wonder what happens if Sabal Trail doesn’t make its FERC-extended construction deadlines? Somebody remind me, what assets does Sabal Trail Transmission, LLC have, as in what recourse would a bond-holder have if the issuer decided to cancel them?

Two months (2018-04-01 -- 2018-05-03), STT Graphs
Graph: by WWALS, from Sabal Trail’s FERC-required Informational Postings.

Or maybe, unlike the amount of gas Sabal Trail is pumping (see above graph), SEP’s stock price will stop dropping and Continue reading

Stigma and market fear count, says jury over Sabal Trail

A jury slapped Sabal Trail’s pet consultants with the stigma of market fear:

Sabal Trail contended that there are no damages to market value based on market fear or stigma.

…the jury rendered a verdict in the amount of $309,500. This, of course, is over five-times the amount offered by Sabal….

Perhaps farmer Randy Dowdy is also right to object to Sabal Trail’s soil mixing consultants. And I wonder how this precedent might affect other property takings cases.

Lake Erie Road and Bay Lake Road,, Sunderland Groves
Photo: Mark Skogman for WWALS on Southwings flight 2 February 2017 of Sunderland Groves on Lake Erie Road near Bay Lake Road, 28.4775900, -81.9026000

Brigham Property Rights Law Firm ( http://www.propertyrights.com), PRWeb, 20 March 2018, Jury Sides with Property Owners in Eminent Domain Suit with Sabal Trail Pipeline, Continue reading

HR 158 against state fee diversions passed 166:1 in GA House 2018-02-14

Yesterday’s Valentine’s Day present from the Georgia House was passing HR 158 with 166 yea and only 1 nay (6 not voting, and 7 excused). Except for district 175, which just finished a Special Election, every Georgia House member from the Suwannee River Basin voted yea. Thank you, Patty Bentley, John Corbett, Buddy Harden, Penny Houston, Dominic LaRiccia, Clay Pirkle, Jay Powell, Ed Rynders, Dexter Sharper, Jason Shaw, Jason Spencer, and Sam Watson!

Yea 166 Nay 1, Tally

Onwards to the Georgia Senate. We look forward to every Georgia State Senator from the Suwannee River Basin voting yea. WWALS members and others may want to give them a ring to remind them to do so. Senators Ellis Black (District 8) and Tyler Harper (District 7) please note that local governments in your districts have passed resolutions supporting HR 158.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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