Category Archives: Law

Court suggests FERC is derelict of duty about pipelines including Sabal Trail

Two judges accused FERC of not doing its duty. At stake: shutting down Sabal Trail, and maybe reforming FERC, in oral arguments today on Sierra Club, Flint Riverkeeper, and Chattachoochee Riverkeeper v. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Case No. 16-1329 in the U.S. DC Court of Appeals.

Lena Moffit, Sierra Club Florida News, 18 April 2017, Sierra Club attorneys argue against Sabal Trail gas pipeline at DC Circuit Court of Appeals,

Judge [Judith W.] Rogers said at one point to the FERC lawyer, regarding their need to assess the full climate impacts of the project, “So, FERC just doesn’t have to do it’s duty because it thinks someone else will?”

Ellen M. Gilmer, E&E News, 18 April 2017, Judge slams FERC’s climate review,

[Judge Thomas B.] Griffith also appeared skeptical of FERC’s position, asking Continue reading

Protests across Florida against Sabal Trail, which is worse than reporters think

It’s not just two connected pipelines; it’s at least five just in Florida. Audubon Florida did endorse Sabal Trail starting with FPL’s first announcement. And sure, Ms. Grover, your “safety programs are designed to prevent pipeline failures”, but they haven’t actually stopped numerous incidents of corrosion, leaks, explosions, and compressor station blowouts. Other than those things, it’s a pretty good story.

Beth Kassab and Kevin Spear, Orlando Sentinel, 2017-04-01, Gas pipeline across Central Florida brings cheap energy and protests,

The WWALS Watershed Coalition, which advocates for protection of Florida and Georgia rivers, has staunchly opposed nearly every aspect of Sabal Trail, which crosses under the Suwannee, Santa Fe and many other rivers.


South to Suwannee River, HDD Suwannee County, RoW with pipe already buried, 30.4117310, -83.1566490

Coalition spokesman John Quarterman called the pipeline a profit bonanza for private companies and a boondoggle for utility customers.

Well, I said it’s a boondoggle for the utility, namely FPL, at the expense of its customers. Here’s why I say that, including Continue reading

Legal filing about Pilgrim’s Pride effluent into Suwannee River

Environment Florida filed a lawsuit 9 March 2017 against Pilgrim’s Pride about “effluents” into the Suwannee River, alleging a violation of a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (“NPDES”) permit, which is also a violation of the Clean Water Act (CWA). Case 3:17-cv-00272-TJC-JRK, U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida Here is PDF of that legal complaint, sent to us by the plaintiff’s attorney.

Suwannee Riverkeeper is always glad to see legal action going on that we don’t have to do. Here are a few notes.

Pilgrim’s Pride goes to some trouble to treat and disinfect their wastewater at its plant on US 90 west of Live Oak in Suwannee County, and then:

  1. The wastewater discharged into the Suwannee River is also called the Plant’s “effluent.”
  2. Outfall D-001 is an 18-inch diameter steel pipe that extends approximately 20 feet from the shore and discharges into the Suwannee River.
  3. During the Suwannee River’s low flow periods, the pipe is not always completely submerged.
  4. During the Suwannee River’s low flow periods, the Plant’s effluent discharging from the pipe can be seen.

And the complaint alleges the effluent is not entirely clean.

What about the waste that is not liquid? Continue reading

Georgia legislature fails even to require notice on coal ash 2017-03-03

The coal ash bills didn’t even get out of the HNRE Committee, which instead appointed a study committee. You can ask your Georgia House members to get on that committee.

Peggy Riggins
Peggy Riggins Leslie Webb Riggins of No Ash At All in Valdosta 2017-03-01; photo by John S. Quarterman for WWALS.

Georgia Water Coalition, Press Release, 2 March 2017, Toxic Ash Dumping to remain secret; Georgia House Committee fails to vote on bills requiring community notification

Last year, Jesup residents found out that a landfill near their homes and wells leaked toxic metals found in coal ash into the soil and groundwater. The landfill company is proposing to make the landfill bigger and accept even more of the toxic waste.

“It felt like a punch in the gut,” said Peggy Riggins, Jesup resident. “We found out that toxins found in coal ash were underneath the landfill in our county. The government and the landfill knew for years before we were ever told. This is unacceptable. Our communities deserve to know about proposals to bring in toxic coal waste before its too late and has caused a problem.”

Mary Landers, SavannahNow, 2 March 2017, Lawmakers avoid public notice on coal ash dumping, Continue reading

Hamilton County Florida Valdosta wastewater resolution asks Georgia and Florida governors to step in 2017-02-21

Hamilton County, Florida is not pleased with Valdosta’s sewage, and has asked the states of Georgia and Florida to step in.

Thanks to Kristy Morgan, Chief Deputy Clerk/Administrative Assistant, Hamilton County Clerk’s Office, for the PDF.

RESOLUTION 2017-01

A RESOLUTION BY THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF HAMILTON COUNTY, FLORIDA DEMANDING PROTECTION OF THE WITHLACOOCHEE RIVER, THE ALAPAHOOCHEE RIVER, THE ALAPAHA RIVER AND THE SUWANNEE RIVER FROM THE ILLEGAL DISCHARGE OF RAW SEWAGE BY THE CITY OF VALDOSTA, GEORGIA

WHEREAS, WHEREAS, the Withlacoochee River forms the Western boundary of Hamilton County, Florida from the Florida/Georgia state line until its juncture with the Suwannee River; and

WHEREAS, the Withlacoochee River provides recreational and economic benefits to the citizens of Hamilton County and others; and

WHEREAS, citizens of Hamilton County depend on clean water from the Withlacoochee River watershed for activities of daily life as well as for agricultural, business, and recreational purposes; and

WHEREAS, the health and welfare of many Hamilton County citizens is directly harmed by any degradation of the quality of water in the Withlacoochee River and its watershed; and

WHEREAS, the City of Valdosta, Georgia over the past several years has Continue reading

A man shot by deputies after shooting at Sabal Trail pipe 2017-02-26

A man is dead over the Sabal Trail pipeline. As the first person to call for protests against Sabal Trail, this is not what I called for.

Summary of news reports: A man shot at and hit Sabal Trail pipe near Dunnellon, Florida, was reported to the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, was chased by Florida Highway Patrol and Citrus County deputies, who allege he brandished a weapon at them, whereupon they shot and killed him. The deputies involved “will be placed on administrative leave while undergoing evaluations” per “policy and protocol”. The identity of the suspect is being withheld pending notification of next of kin.

Update 2017-02-27: Hannah Morse, Bradenton Herald, 2017-02-27, Chokoloskee man identified as suspect who was killed after cops say he shot at pipeline,

James Leroy Marker, 66, of Chokoloskee, was identified by FHP Monday afternoon as the suspect in the incident.


Photo: Doug Engle/Ocala Star-Banner

Citrus County Sheriff’s Department, facebook, 2017-02-26, HAPPENING NOW: SABAL PIPELINE SHOOTING LEADS TO CHASE — ALLEGED SUSPECT DECEASED: ALL DEPUTIES ARE SAFE, Continue reading

GA HR 289: Recommend Congress remove eminent domain from Federal National Gas Act

It’s just a resolution, but if passed by the Georgia House, the same that voted 128 to 34 to deny river-drilling easements to Sabal Trail, it will send a message to Congress. Maybe Florida’s statehouse would like to pass a similar resolution.

A RESOLUTION recommending that Congress remove the power of eminent domain from the Federal Natural Gas Act; and for other purposes.,

LC 34 5041

17

House Resolution 289

By: Representatives Dunahoo of the 30th, Quick of the 117th, McCall of the 33rd, Caldwell of the 20th, Raffensperger of the 50th, and others

A RESOLUTION

WHEREAS Recommending that Congress remove the power of eminent domain from the Federal Natural Gas Act; and for other purposes.

WHEREAS, the Georgia House of Representatives and Georgia Senate are concerned about the disastrous impact unrestrained use of eminent domain has on the private property rights of the citizens of Georgia; and

WHEREAS, America’s Founding Fathers clearly understood that private property rights were the foundation, not only of prosperity, but of freedom itself; and

WHEREAS, the common law, state law, and the United States Constitution were written to protect property rights, including the rights of people to freely acquire, use, and dispose of property; and

WHEREAS, Continue reading