Tag Archives: Duke Energy

The illusion of pipeline invincibility is shattered –WWALS Brief to FERC in Sabal Trail Rehearing

Let’s cut to the chase in the letter we filed with FERC yesterday:

11. Historic new circumstances add up

The sun never set on the British Empire. Until it did.

No one circumstance ended that Empire, but it is easy to point at major events that accelerated its demise, such as the independence of India and the Suez Incident. Its fall started after the illusion of its invincibility was shattered by Gandhi’s campaign of civil disobedience and other events such as World War II.

The illusion of invincibility of the inland colonial empire of pipelines has been shattered by recent court orders about the ACP, DAPL, and others, and especially by the shut down of the Dakota Access Pipeline and the shuttering of the Constitution Pipeline and the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. All of those pipelines were expected to be built, and DAPL actually was built before being ordered to shut down and empty. Now the world knows that pipelines are not inevitable.

All these pipeline projects, like Sabal Trail, were opposed by nonviolent protests and political and legal actions. All those methods of opposition, combined with the sea-change in progress to renewable energy, eventually added up to a new and significantly different world than that in which Sabal Trail was permitted or re-permitted.

The shut down of DAPL and the abandonment of ACP as well as the court rejection of tolling orders make it a new world even since FERC’s June 19, 2020, Order granting a rehearing on Sierra Club’s motion.

FERC should initiate a new [Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement] EIS that should take into account Sabal Trail’s own track record of leaks and sinkholes, as well as leaks and accidents from [Liquid Natural Gas] LNG export and LNG transport in rail cars, the speeding demise of fossil fuels as evidenced by record low LNG export prices and bankruptcies of frackers, the court rejections of DAPL, ACP, and tolling orders and how much of Sabal Trail could never have been built through environmental justice communities without tolling orders, the coronavirus pandemic, and the rapid rise of renewable solar, wind, and battery power as evidenced by FPL and Sabal Trail partners Duke and NextEra, as well as by FERC’s own numbers. All of those new and significant circumstances make pipelines such as Sabal Trail toxic stranded assets, dangerous to the bank accounts of their investors, as well as to the environment, justice, and human health.

Conclusion

For the reasons stated above, WWALS asks FERC to grant Sierra Club’s motion for stay of the Commission’s letter order of April 22, 2020, to halt Sabal Trail Phase II, and to commence a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) taking into account all of the above new and significant circumstances.

[Third-party inspection, recission, stay, SEIS]
Third-party inspection, recission, stay, SEIS

For those who are not familiar with tolling orders, they are basically how, after the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) gives federal eminent domain to a private pipeline company, FERC lets that pipeline company take land before any payment to the landowner or even any agreement is reached. Without tolling orders, it’s not clear the FERC will ever get another pipeline built.

Here’s a longer explanation. Continue reading

Sabal Trail still can’t keep the gas flowing 2019-01-10

Like last winter, Sabal Trail can’t keep the gas flowing during the dead of winter, the only time Florida might need heating.

All: 201710, Graphs

This data is from Sabal Trail’s Informational Postings, which are required by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

As you can see by the numbers on Sabal Trail’s current map, even at the other stations it is shipping less than half (393) of its currently stated capacity (813). At Reunion, even the capacity is lower (711), and the amount shipped (Nom) is a sixth of that. Continue reading

Jury awards 33 times what Sabal Trail offered to Levy Co., FL landowner 2018-11-09

If this isn’t what Sabal Trail was scared of back in September when they settled three jury trials in Valdosta, Georgia, it should have been.

Sabal Trail path digitized by WWALS, Maps

Andrew Caplan, Gainesville Sun, 12 November 2018, Sabal Trail must pay Levy landowners $1.3M

A 12-member jury in Gainesville awarded Levy County residents Lee Thomas and his son, Ryan, more than $1.3 million for land that Sabal Trail built its pipeline on.

Sabal Trail Transmission was back in federal court in Friday to defend its controversial $3 billion project and the offers it made to a pair of landowners for uprooting and burying a natural gas pipeline on their property.

That didn’t go over so well.

Continue reading

LNG export through Tampa from Strom in Crystal River

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Crystal River, Florida, October 18, 2018 — Strom, Inc. now proposes exporting liquid natural gas (LNG) by tanker ship through the port of Tampa. That explosive cargo would get there by land from Crystal River through densely populated areas. LNG tanker ships would go out right by downtown Tampa and St. Petersburg, and under the I-275 bridge. Strom has always said some of this fracked methane would likely come from the Sabal Trail pipeline. Getting on with solar power for the Sunshine state makes a lot more sense than shipping gas under our rivers, through private property, and by major cities for corporate export profit. Clean energy for Florida and beyond is an issue in this election year.

Strom Inc. export through Tampa, Map
Map: by WWALS, from federal and state filings of LNG export operations.

Strom “may elect to file an amendment to our application to allow transportation of LNG by LNG tanker,” according to its latest semi-annual report to the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) Office of Fossil Energy (FE) (see http://wwals.net/?p=46497), According to Strom’s website it means LNG tanker ships, like this one: Continue reading

Strom, Inc. LNG export quarterly report to DOE FE 2018-10-01

What’s this about LNG tanker, in Strom, Inc’s latest LNG export planning report?

Strom has insisted on liquid natural gas (LNG) in shipping containers since 2014, back when it tried to get FERC to state it wasn’t overseeing small-export LNG. Strom still aims to export through the Port of Tampa, and maybe other ports.

“As a direct result of recent Offtake and LNG supply requests, Strom may elect to file an amendment to our application to allow transportation of LNG by LNG tanker.”

Does that mean LNG tanker truck, such as I photographed rolling down I-75, and turning onto I-10 for Jacksonville, probably from Pivotal LNG in Georgia?

1 Mile, I-75 Exit 435 for I-10 Jacksonville Tallahassee

Or does it mean LNG tanker ship, like this one? Continue reading

FDEP now maps last 30 days of spills

Pollution spill maps online, up to date, with interactive links to details: Florida is doing it, and so can Georgia.

Florida, Maps

For more than a year FDEP has been posting spill reports online in a spreadsheet the same day it gets them, with email notice signup (Alabama also does that). FDEP has added a Public Notice of Pollution (PNP) Finder: Last 30 Days, which helps a lot in finding spills in our watersheds.

Did you know there was a Phosphoric Acid spill at White Springs last week, on Continue reading

FERC rubberstamps four rehearing denials and a new pipeline on a Friday 2018-08-10

Scurrying to use its rubberstamp before a Commissioner departing leaves it tied 2:2, FERC once again rubberstamped multiple pipelines, this time three on a Friday plus an LNG export project, while neither its main online library nor its backup library yielded copies of the orders.

I found these four by googling:

  • 164 FERC ¶ 61,099 Florida Southeast Connection, LLC Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Company, Sabal Trail Transmission, Docket Nos. CP14-554-003, LLC CP15-16-004, LLC CP15-17-003, ORDER DENYING REHEARING, Issued August 10, 2018
  • 164 FERC ¶ 61,098, PennEast Pipeline Company, LLC, Docket No. CP15-558-001, ORDER ON REHEARING, August 10, 2018.
  • 164 FERC ¶ 61,100, Atlantic Coast Pipeline, LLC, Dominion Transmission, Inc., Atlantic Coast Pipeline, LLC, Piedmont Natural Gas Company, Inc., Docket Nos. CP15-554-002, CP15-555-001, CP15-556-001, Order on Rehearing, August 10 2018.
  • 164 FERC ¶ 61,102, Dominion Energy Cove Point LNG, LP, Docket No. CP17-15-001, ORDER DENYING REHEARING, August 10, 2018.

Oh, wait, a mention of a docket number in a FERC agenda leads me to one more Friday rubberstamp, of a new Transco pipeline in New Jersey:

FERC rubberstamp

  • 164 FERC ¶ 61,101, Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Company, LLC, Docket No. CP17-490-000, ORDER ISSUING CERTIFICATE, August 10, 2018.

Commissioner Cheryl A. LaFleur dissented from 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

FERC and Sabal Trail admit Sierra Club won 2018-07-03

One week after losing a jury trial in the U.S. Middle District Court of Georgia, the Sabal Trail fracked methane pipeline and its purveyor of federal eminent domain, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), declined to appeal their huge DC District Court loss of last August.

Sierra Club, Press Release, 3 July 2018, Fracked Gas Pipeline Company and Federal Regulator Will Not Seek Supreme Court Review of Landmark Ruling: Existing Decision Means FERC Must Consider Downstream Greenhouse Gas Emissions,

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Neither the builders of the fracked gas Sabal Trail Pipeline nor the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) will ask the Supreme Court to review a landmark ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit from last year. That decision required FERC to consider the effects of downstream greenhouse gases when deciding whether to approve proposed pipelines that transport gas.

In response, Sierra Club Staff Attorney Elly Benson released the following statement:

Elly Benson, Sierra Club Attorney
Elly Benson, Sierra Club Staff Attorney

“We are glad to see FERC accept its responsibility to consider greenhouse gas emissions from burning transported gas at downstream power plants. These dirty, dangerous, and unnecessary pipelines pose a threat to our communities and climate. They should not be proposed, much less built, at a time when clean, renewable energy sources are abundant and affordable. We will continue to monitor the pipeline permitting process to ensure the law is followed.”

The pipeline industry press was not thrilled. Charlie Passut, Natural Gas Intelligence, 5 July 2018, FERC Declines to Appeal Landmark GHG Case to Supreme Court, 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