Category Archives: Politics

Cyanobacteria infecting Florida political races

We are fortunate in the Suwannee River Basin in not having this bad a problem, but are similarities. Greg Allen, NPR, 7 September 2018, Toxic Algae Seeps Into Florida Congressional Races,

For months now, mats of algae from Lake Okeechobee have been flowing down the river, bringing toxins that can affect people and animals. In beach communities east of the lake, the algae have had a big impact on tourism and businesses.

With more toxic algae blooms on Florida’s west coast and a red tide algae bloom causing massive fish kills in the Gulf of Mexico, water quality is increasingly having a big impact on key midterm races in Florida. While Democrats tend to be more outspoken on environmental issues, Republican candidates are also speaking up because they’re feeling the heat.

Outflows from Lake Okeechobee

Seems to me all the candidates are dancing around the real issue, which is Continue reading

Madison County meeting about Valdosta sewage, plus Tom Potter of WWALS 2018-08-21

Valdosta sewage discussed yesterday morning in Madison, and in the evening on TV and in the WWALS Water Quality Testing Committee meeting in Valdosta, and again this evening at the Madison BOCC. Emma Wheeler, WCTV Eyewitness News, 21 August 2018, Sewage spills prompt concern over Withlacoochee River safety,

Sewage spills in Valdosta polluting the Withlacoochee River, Screenshots

MADISON, Fla. (WCTV) — A North Florida community is fighting for cleaner water.

Community members in Madison are pushing for safer waterways. It stems from concerns over sewage spills at Valdosta’s Withlacoochee Treatment Plant. The most recent of the spills happened in June.

Many of those concerned said their goal is to have no sewage spill into the river.

“These are public resources, they belong to us,” said Thomas Potter with the WWALS Watershed Coalition. “It’s our duty and our responsibility to make sure that they remain clean.”…

Emma Wheeler shot some footage Continue reading

Gretchen inviting Lowndes County Commission to Wild & Scenic Film Festival

WWALS Executive Director Gretchen Quarterman said “I’m here this evening to invite y’all and everybody present to come to a Wild & Scenic Film Festival, Thursday, May 31.”

Lowndes County Chairman Bill Slaughter wanted to know time and place: 7PM at Mathis Auditorium. Gretchen added, “And we’re going to have a silent auction, and a raffle, and fun stuff. Please come.”

After, Still

Here’s the video:


Gretchen inviting Lowndes County Commission to Wild & Scenic Film Festival
Video by Gretchen Quarterman for Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange (LAKE)
May 22, 2018 Regular Session of the Lowndes County Commission< ,
Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia

Wild & Scenic Film Festival

Tickets: Eventbrite Continue reading

Help stop two bad Florida water bills: HB 1149 and SB 1308

Remember the Florida bill with the bad amendment, withdrawn because you called? Well, the bill itself, HB 1149, is bad enough, and near to a vote.

Please sign Margaret Tolbert’s petition against that and another bad bill, HB 1308.

Saturday crowd at Madison Blue Spring,
Photo: John S. Quarterman for WWALS, from the Suwannee River, of Saturday crowd at Madison Blue Spring, 2017-06-24.

According to a March 1, 2018, Tampa Bay Times article:

“Cynthia Barnett, the author of three books on water and an environmental fellow in residence at the University of Florida’s Bob Graham Center for Public Service, said the bills are based on a faulty assumption concerning how much water Florida needs for its future growth.

The bills say that Florida will need Continue reading

Pipeline opposition rebuts wild-eyed Congressional distractions 2018-03-08

The headline would read better in this order: “Congressional Committee trolls energy policy.”

Suwannee Riverkeeper John Quarterman… said the science committee’s chairman, U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, was making “wild-eyed attempts to divert from the misdeeds of his patron, the fossil fuel industry.”

Steve Patterson, Jacksonville.com, 8 March 2018, Congress: Russians trolled Florida pipeline debate,

Efforts by Russian internet trolls to destabilize the U.S. energy industry reached all the way to Florida and the controversy over construction of the Sabal Trail gas pipeline, according to a Congressional report.

For my previous takedown of that report, see Fossil fuels are a far bigger threat than the Russians.

And if the Russians were behind me spotting from the air this frac-out of Sabal Trail drilling mud up into the Withlacoochee River in Georgia, they’re way behind in their payments.

Turbidity curtains and black pipe from the north bank
View from the south bank of Sabal Trail turbidity curtains and pipe from the north bank of the Withlacoochee River, about 2000 feet upstream from the US 84 bridge.
Photo: John S. Quarterman, October 22nd 2016.

Maybe I should send that Committee a bill Continue reading

Fossil fuels are a far bigger threat than the Russians

Leaks of hazardous materials, explosions, land takings, sinkholes, frac-outs: these are far bigger threats than Texas Rep. Lamar Smith’s Committee report “that states Russian agents were attempting to disrupt U.S. energy markets and using social media to purportedly stir up protests against pipelines such as Sabal Trail,” as a reporter asked me about recently. Smith’s report doesn’t mention that solar and wind power are growing far faster than his favorite, fracked methane gas.

Energy source growth by sector
Business Council for Sustainable Energy by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, February 2018, 2018 Sustainable Energy in America.

Elsewhere I already looked behind Lamar Smith’s fossil fuel smoke and mirrors, and found I post more on social media than the tiny Russian numbers that horrify him.

His actual examples are seriously rolling-on-the-floor laughable, such as this: Continue reading

Call Florida House today to stop bad springs amendment 2018-03-01

Update 2018-03-02: The amendment was withdrawn, thanks to all of you who called!

They’re going to vote tomorrow (Friday), so call today or very early tomorrow and ask your state rep to vote against Amendment 246447 by Rep. Ingoglia on HB 1149. That amendment would force septic tanks to be installed near springs while putting off useful actions for years during further “review” and “study”.

Contact numbers for them are here: http://myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/myrepresentative.aspx

Or here are all the ones in the Suwannee River Basin listed on a web page.

2015 onsite sewage final report
Illustration from the “2015 final report written as part of the study originally authorized in Specific Appropriation 1682 of chapter 2008-152, Laws of Florida”.

On House Bill 1149, a general environmental regulation bill, Rep. Blaise Ingoglia (R-35) this afternoon introduced Amendment 246447 which includes for example:

(3) As part of the pilot program, the department, in coordination with the Department of Health, must:

(a) Review and build upon Continue reading

Progress and more to do to Stop Coal Ash Pollution in Georgia

Thanks to all who helped get HB 879 out of one committee and into the Rules Committee. It needs to get out of there to the full Georgia House by this Wednesday February 28, 2018.

So please contact your Georgia state legislators to ask them to back both bills that will help keep coal ash off our lands and out of our waters.

Stop Coal Waste in Georgia

Here’s an easy way to send email to your Georgia statehouse Representative and Senator.

There’s more about the bills below. 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®

You can join this fun and work by becoming a WWALS member today!

Reclaiming Florida’s Future, Tallahassee 2018-01-31

We visited every Florida statehouse member who represents any part of the Suwannee River Basin, Wednesday in Tallahasse, we the people attending ReThink Energy Florida’s event.

Banner, thanks Kristin Rubin, Waller Park
Suwannee Riverkeeper Banner in Waller Park; thanks Kristin Rubin.

And a primary goal of that lobbying was achieved: the fracking ban bill is sheduled for a committee vote Monday.

When: 4:30 PM – 6PM, Monday, February 5, 2018

Where: Mallory Horne Committee Room, 37 Senate Office Building,
400 Monroe Street, Tallahassee, Florida

Event: facebook.

Stand with us and Continue reading