Category Archives: Law

Sabal Trail Jury Trial in Valdosta, GA 2018-06-25

The public can attend a jury trial next week in Valdosta for a Sabal Trail eminent domain case. Jury selection will start 9AM Monday morning, June 25, 2018. The actual trial could start that afternoon, and may run all week.

PDF flyer.

Maybe this will end up like the last jury trial, which didn’t go so well for Sabal Trail. Come see!


Photo by Mjrmtg on Wikimedia Commons of Federal Building, Valdosta, GA, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0.

The date, case number, judge, and defendant, are from Attorney Jonathan P. Waters. Anything additional I have dug up.

When: Jury selection 9AM Monday morning, June 25, 2018.
Trial could start that afternoon, and may run all week.

Where: Continue reading

Judge rules Florida Amendment 1 funds must be used for land acquisition 2018-06-14

Acquiring lands in a springshed is one of the best ways to protect springs and rivers, and a judge just said the Florida legislature can’t divert funds from that purpose of Florida Amendment 1, which was passed by 75% of the people of Florida.

St. Johns Riverkeeper, blog, 14 June 2018, Legal Victory for Conservation Lands,

On June 15, 2018, Florida Circuit Judge Charles Dodson ruled in favor of environmental organizations that the land conservation constitutional amendment overwhelmingly approved by voters in 2014 requires funding to be used for land acquisition, restoration and management, not for other purposes.

Map of county vote ranges on Florida Amendment 1

Earthjustice, Joe Litte of Florida Defenders of the Environment and the plaintiff organizations— Continue reading

Phosphate mines on agenda, Gilchrist BOCC, 2018-06-18

Mike Roth, president of Our Santa Fe River, requests:

On Monday, June 18, at the Gilchrist County Board of County Commissioners meeting in Trenton which starts at 4PM, we will get the opportunity to appeal to the Board to issue a “letter of concern” regarding the phosphate mine applied for in Bradford and Union Counties. As you certainly know, OSFR has stood in opposition to this mine on the grounds that it is a substantial threat to the health of the Santa Fe River and to all those who live by the river and all those who use the river recreationally. Further, it threatens the aquifer that is recharged by the river and as such, anyone and anything that uses groundwater.

When: 4PM (hearing 4:45 PM), Monday, June 18, 2018

Where: Board of County Commissioners Meeting Facility,
210 South Main Street, Trenton, Florida

What: Letter of concern about HPS II Phosphate Mine in Bradford and Union Counties, Florida

Gilchrist County Commissioners from left to right: Sharon A. Langford, Kenrick Thomas, Todd Gray, D Ray Harrison, Jr., and Marion Poitevint
Gilchrist County Commissioners from left to right: Sharon A. Langford, Kenrick Thomas, Todd Gray, D Ray Harrison, Jr., and Marion Poitevint

Gilchrist County is downstream Continue reading

WWALS prepares to sue FERC for shirking LNG Export oversight

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Washington, D.C., June 13, 2018 — WWALS Watershed Coalition (WWALS) prepares to sue the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for shirking its legally-required oversight of inland liquid natural gas (LNG) terminals. “LNG trucks barrel down I-75 right by my old high school in Lowndes County, Georgia,” said Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman, after meeting with WWALS’ attorneys in Washington, D.C. “Those trucks from LNG terminals in Alabama and Georgia pass a technical college, a conference center, motels, homes, and businesses, going to I-10 for Jacksonville, Florida, where that LNG goes at least as far on ships as Puerto Rico.”

PDF flyer

Since the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in 2015 abdicated its jurisdictional duties under the Natural Gas Act to regulate the siting, construction, operation and maintenance of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) small-scale inland export facilities, instead these facilities operate with basically no Federal oversight.

“I am greatly concerned that an LNG commercial project of this magnitude is not only planned, but that apparently has slipped through the cracks of local and federal regulators,” said WWALS member Harriet Heywood of Citrus County, Florida.

At the ends of the Sabal Trail pipeline chain in Florida, trucks go out from half a dozen LNG export operations authorized by the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Fossil Energy (FE). If any of those trucks wrecks, federal standard everyone should be evacuated half a mile downwind, including high schools and hospitals. Very few local emergency responders know this and fewer have appropriate emergency plans.

 LNG Railcar Explosion, SE Cove Rd and SE Dixie Hwy, in Vulnerability of LNG by Rail, <br/>by Martin County Fire Rescue, December 15, 2015.” /></a><br />
LNG Railcar Explosion, SE Cove Rd and SE Dixie Hwy, in <a href=Vulnerability of LNG by Rail, by Martin County Fire Rescue, December 15, 2015.

“The unintended consequences of FERC’s abdication of Congressional jurisdictional authority are mind-boggling,” said WWALS member Cecile Scofield of Palm City, Martin County, Florida, “They include Continue reading

Fundraiser to stop FERC shirking LNG oversight

Update 2018-06-13: Press Release.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has abdicated its jurisdictional duties under the Natural Gas Act to regulate the siting, construction, operation and maintenance of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) small-scale inland export facilities.

Instead these facilities operate with basically no Federal oversight.

LNG trucks barrel down I-75 through Georgia past high schools, colleges, businesses, and homes, then on I-10 to Jacksonville for ships at least as far as Puerto Rico. At the ends of the Sabal Trail pipeline chain in Florida, trucks go out from half a dozen LNG export operations authorized by the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Fossil Energy (FE). If any of those trucks wrecks, federal standard everyone should be evacuated half a mile downwind, including high schools and hospitals. Very few local emergency responders know this and fewer have appropriate emergency plans.

On roads in Alabama, Georgia, and Florida, LNG and ports

Compounding the problem, Continue reading

2017 Annual Progress Report and 2018 Estimates, Hamilton County Mining Ordinance 2018-05-15

Received May 27, 2018 from WWALS member Chris Mericle:

The Hamilton County BOCC finally at its last meeting (May 15) voted on the Nutrien 5 year permit renewal.

The BOCC voted to approve the permit with the modifications recommended by the environmental consultant and attorney.

[2,3,4,5 Draglines]

I consider this a win for us because it requires Nutrien to: Continue reading

Wanted: Missing Sheboggy Signs

If returned, no questions asked.

Don’t wait for the Sheriff to find them.

Right, Missing

You don’t have to steal them: WWALS will sell you a similar smaller metal sign. Those will be $20 each, available by the end of May 2018, and we’ll have an online order form.

Sheboggy Boat Ramp, Berrien County, Sign
Born, April 25, 2018.

Continue reading

Berrien County about ARWT Landings

WWALS would like to thank the Berrien County Board of Commissioners and staff for years of cooperation about the Alapaha River Water Trail (ARWT) and the many landings on it in Berrien County, as well as the one landing in Berrien County on the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail (WLRWT).

Here is a letter from September 2016 granting WWALS permission to put signs on county property at all the water trail landings it names, and a Commission vote to change two access points from having Landing in their name to be called instead Sheboggy Boat Ramp and Berrien Beach Boat Ramp.

Letter from Berrien County 2016-09-14

Permission to put signs at all landings, Letter

Thanks to Continue reading

FPL wants Martin-Riviera Pipeline folded into FSC

What is FPL hiding in all that confidential and redacted material in a 117-page petition for approval of folding FPL’s Martin-Riviera Pipeline into Sabal Trail’s downstream Florida Southeast Connection (FSC)? This has been planned at least two years. on the excuse of lower rates for customers. Yet FPL redacted what FSC would charge and future cost projections, so FPL’s customers and the rest of the public affected by these unnecessary pipelines have no way of knowing what they would cost, and emergency responders can’t see what’s on this pipeline.

Indiantown to Riviera Beach
Indiantown to Riviera Beach, in FERC 20180309-5230, Docket CP18-108.

Eagle-eye WWALS member Janet Barrow spotted this Florida Public Service Commission (FPSC) Docket 20170231 (OPEN) — Petition for approval to transfer Martin- Riviera Lateral Pipeline to Florida Southeast Connection and implement associated rate adjustments, by Florida Power & Light Company.

FPSC let FPL redact most anything it wanted to, in 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