Tag Archives: Office of Fossil 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

FPL supposedly unrelated pipeline to the sea rolled into FSC with Sabal Trail

FPL’s planned-for-a-decade pipeline to the sea just happens to connect Sabal Trail with an LNG export port. Nevermind that this MR-RV Lateral was never run through the FERC permitting process: FERC rolled it into Florida Southeast Connection.

Susan Salisbury, Palm Beach Post, 10 March 2012 (updated 31 March 2012), FPL proposes 32-mile natural gas pipeline for Riviera Beach plant,

FPL is seeking state approval for a 32-mile natural gas pipeline to provide an uninterrupted supply to Florida Power & Light Co.’s new Riviera Beach plant.

RBEC Lateral in Palm Beach Post 2012
Map: Palm Beach Post, 31 March 2012.

The story said FPL was working with FDEP to determine the final route. It also said:

The project is not related to FPL’s proposed $1.5 billion, 300-mile natural gas pipeline that would have run from Bradford County to Martin County. The Florida Public Service Commission 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

Spectra responds in pipeline certificate rulemaking 2018-08-24

As we’ve seen so often in the Sabal Trail docket, Spectra seems to be acting in place of FERC, responding yesterday to thousands of comments on FERC’s certificate rulemaking.

Spectra’s bottom line: a pipeline company’s bottom line matters more than the Fifth Amendment due process, or water, air, or safety. See page 25:

Contrary to some commenters’ arguments, the Commission’s public interest determinations are not rendered insufficient under the Fifth Amendment public use requirement because the Commission considers precedent agreements among applicants and affiliates to be evidence of public benefits.

Spectra repeatedly argues that FERC does not have authority to consider hardly anything other than whether the pipeline company has customers, yet FERC has authority to give eminent domain to private corporations and to let them gouge through our lands and under our rivers without local agreement or payment first.

Page 9: Tolling Orders, Pages

In this election year, you can ask every candidate for statehouse or Congress whether they support Continue reading

LNG export from Port Everglades and Jacksonville –Florida Bulldog 2018-08-22

Florida Bulldog reports on LNG exports right now from Fortress Energy’s Hialeah plant through Port Everglades via Florida East Coast Railway (FECR) through densely populated neighborhoods. The larger story includes FECR can export via Crowley Maritime from Jacksonville, and Pivotal LNG is already exporting LNG from Alabama and Georgia through JAX, arriving via truck down I-75 and I-10. Plus offshoot pipelines from Sabal Trail already go to both Jacksonville and Riviera Beach. Why should we let these corporations cash in on fracked methane now that solar power is already here?

A Crowley LNG export ship fueled by LNG.
An LNG export ship fueled by LNG. Image: Crowley Maritime; “An artist’s rendering of one of Crowley’s LNGfueled, combination container and roll-on/roll-off (ConRo) ships—El Coqui slated for delivery in 2017.”

Ann Henson Feltgen, Florida Bulldog.org, 22 August 2018, Despite ‘disaster risk,’ trains haul hazardous gas cargo in South Florida,

About the same time Florida East Coast Railway (FEC) executives were convincing Florida’s east coast cities and counties to back its idea of privately owned passenger trains traversing downtowns and densely populated neighborhoods, it quietly sought and won permission to haul extremely flammable liquified natural gas along the same tracks.

Liquefied natural gas (LNG) is a hazardous material Continue reading

DoE FE can’t identify the circumstances for revoking an LNG export authorization

What sort of oversight can the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) Office of Fossil Energy (FE) be performing for Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) export terminals when it says that: “DOE has stated that it ‘cannot precisely identify all the circumstances under which such action would be taken.’” Further:

DOE/FE has never rescinded a longterm non-FTA export authorization for any reason. Further, DOE has no record of ever having vacated or rescinded an authorization to import or export natural gas over the objections of the authorization holder.

This is all from a recent DoE article in the U.S. Federal Register, in which DoE manages to come up with only one example:

Louisiana LNG Energy LLC, in google cache
Louisiana LNG Energy LLC, in google cache

DOE has rescinded (or “vacated”) one long-term LNG export authorization to FTA countries (see supra note 2)—DOE/ FE Order No. 3482, issued to 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 2018-11-14: Strom Inc. export through Tampa, Map And Strom wants to export through Port of Tampa, on tanker ships under the I-275 bridge right past St. Pete.

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.

LNG export routes, Map
Map: by WWALS, from federal and state filings of LNG export operations.

Compounding the problem, Continue reading

LNG Export in Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, and Florida

Update 2020-01-14: Better maps.

Update 2018-06-06: Fundraiser to stop FERC shirking its LNG oversight duties.

Did you know there are multiple liquid natural gas (LNG) facilities already shipping LNG down I-75 and I-10 to Jacksonville, Florida, another one in Hialeah, FL apparently exporting through Miami, with permission to export from four ports up and down Florida’s east coast, plus another permitted at Crystal River, and still more?

[WWALS LNG Export Map]
WWALS LNG Export Map
PDF

Only a few of the LNG operations shown were permitted by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC); most notably Elba Island LNG, downstream from Savannah, Georgia. Most of them have been authorized by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy (FE).

Pivotal LNG, LNG and ports

Pivotal LNG is trucking LNG to JAXport right now.

Pivotal is Continue reading