Tag Archives: Safety

Make sure we have an adequate amount for departments all across the state in AGL settlement –GA-PSC Commissioner Jason Shaw 2019-09-17

Deferred: the AGL gas explosion settlement agreement, to be sure enough county fire departments are covered, and there is “an adequate amount” to do that. Maybe now Lowndes County and Berrien County and Ray City can be added to the list of departments to get gas detection equipment. No doubt AGL will be happy to provide more funds to accomplish this prevention of explosions such as happened last fall in Homerville, GA.

[Commissioner Jason Shaw]
Commissioner Jason Shaw

Thanks to Commissioner Jason Shaw for speaking up for the people of the state of Georgia at this morning’s GA-PSC meeting.

I would like to hold item R1. I think there are some questions.

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AGL pipeline explosion settlement down to 10% on GA-PSC agenda tomorrow morning 2019-09-16 2019-09-17

Update 2019-09-17: Decision deferred for questions.

AGL has whittled GA-PSC staff’s recommended fine of $2,305,000.00 down to $250,000, on the theory that prevention is the goal, not punishment. This item is on GA-PSC’s agenda for 9AM tomorrow morning, September 16 17, 2019. There will be live stream of audio.

[5701 Quarterman Road]
AGL President Bryan Batson (in green shirt) at 5701 Quarterman Road, Lowndes County, Georgia

$110,000 of the settlement is to go to fire departments for gas detectors, plus $70,000 on water and sewer damage prevention educational programs, and $70,000 to the Georgia Pipeline Emergency Responder Initiative (GPERI). At least that $250,000 is 25 times the usual fine. And despite the usual disclaimers of no admission of fault, etc., there is this:

The stipulation states that AGL cannot recover any of the $250,000.00 through rates or by ratepayers. Additionally, if AGLC receives any tax benefits as a result of utilizing the money, all benefits must be passed on to ratepayers.

When Tom Krause, Public Information Office, GA-PSC, sent me these documents about noon today, he added:

As I said, the PSC is continuing investigations into the contractor and the City of Homerville regarding this incident.

Plus there are quite likely private lawsuits still pending.

GA-PSC composed “a list of the 85 fire departments within AGLC’s certificated territory that could receive the gas detectors.”

[Fire Department List Homerville AGL]
Fire Department List Homerville AGL
PDF

Curiously, while Hahira is on that list, Lowndes County is not, even though Continue reading

QUARTERMAN: Swamp, Suwannee more valuable than titanium in VDT 2019-07-23

In the Valdosta Daily Times, page 4A, July 24, 2019, and online July 21: QUARTERMAN: Swamp, Suwannee more valuable than titanium (updated here in light of recent developments, with links):

A company wants to mine on Trail Ridge, between the St. Mary’s River and the Okefenokee Swamp, which is the headwaters of the Suwannee River.

[Suwannee River Basin Landings]
Suwannee River Basin Landings
For much more about the mine application, see wwals.net/pictures/2019-07-12–tpm-usace/.
See also WWALS the interactive google map, Landings on the rivers in the Suwannee River Basin: Withlacoochee, Willacoochee, Alapaha, Little, upper and lower Suwannee River watersheds and Estuary, plus Santa Fe River, by Suwannee Riverkeeper, WWALS Watershed Coalition, Inc.

The Charlton County Commission passed Continue reading

Charlton County, GA, BOCC 2019-07-18

Three people came up from Baker County, Florida, to get another copy of the mine application from Twin Pines Minerals (it matches the earlier copy) and then had to leave early. Emily Jones of Georgia Public Broadcasting (GPB) came from Savannah. Suwannee Riverkeeper (I) asked the Charlton County Commissioners to consider asking the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to extend the application comment date. The Chair of St. Mary’s Riverkeeper spoke. The miners’ lobbyist sat silent.

[Attorney?, County Administrator Hampton Raulerson, Absent Jesse Crews (3), Vice Chair Alphya Benefield (1), Chair James E. Everett (2), , Drew Jones (4), Luke Gowen (5), County Clerk Jenifer Nobles, Finance Coordinator Rebecca Harden]
Thanks for hospitality to Attorney?, County Administrator Hampton Raulerson, Absent Jesse Crews (3), Vice Chair Alphya Benefield (1), Chair James E. Everett (2), , Drew Jones (4), Luke Gowen (5), County Clerk Jenifer Nobles, Finance Coordinator Rebecca Harden.

Since we learned that Twin Pines Minerals still has a hydrogelogical study in process with some unknown completion date, the thirty-day extension GPB announced the next day does not seem adequate, since a key study is missing. Remember to comment on the Corps’ and GA DNR dockets, and see below for the dates, times, and locations of upcoming meetings in Charlton County.

There was nothing on the agenda about the mine, so everything about it was in Continue reading

Videos: Naylor Boat Ramp should be finished in two weeks @ LCC 2019-06-10

The Naylor Boat Ramp on the Alapaha River should be finished in about two weeks, said Lowndes County Manager Joe Pritchard in yesterday morning’s Lowndes County Commission Work Session.

Below are videos of that meeting by Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange (LAKE). Continue reading

WCTV on AGL pipeline Homerville coffee shop explosion and proposed GA-PSC fines 2019-04-04

How about some accountability for regulations already in place, starting with legally-required corporate policies and procedures?

Emma Wheeler, WCTV Eyewitness News, State: Gas company failures led up to Homerville explosion,

[Empty lot]
WCTV’s Emma Wheeler reporting from the empty lot where Coffee Corner used to be in Homverville, GA

The Public Service Commission is proposing a civil penalty of $2.3 million against Atlanta Gas Light for the violations.

[GA-PSC says AGL did not shut off the gas]
GA-PSC says AGL did not shut off the gas

Suwannee Riverkeeper John Quarterman lives near the start of the pipeline. He said he was horrified by the report, and fears that this could happen anywhere along its path.

[

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LNG in Florida: Land Use in 1 mile exclusion zone 2019-04-16

Sixty five schools are within one mile of explosive Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) facilities or transport routes in Florida.

[65 schools in 1 mile exclusion zones]
65 schools in 1 mile exclusion zones

Fifteen percent is high intensity urban of the area a mile around the 7 LNG plants studied. That means lots of people near these dangerous facilities.

24% of land within a mile of Florida LNG transport routes is high intensity urban, with another 7% low intensity urban. So many people are at risk, in addition to estuaries, wetlands, forests, crops,a nd pastures.

This study was done by Continue reading

AGL report to PHMSA about Homerville, GA explosion, 2019-09-17

AGL’s report to PHMSA was so lacking that PHMSA added this comment box:

Please confirm these
injuries involved in-patient
overnight hospitalization.

Atlanta Gas Light (AGL) did mention hospitalization in its narrative on the last page, but even there did not use the terms “in-patient” or “overnight”, much less “third-degree burns” or “airlifted to the burn unit at Shands in Gainseville, Florida”.

[Please confirm these injuries involved in-patient overnight hospitalization.]
Please confirm these injuries involved in-patient overnight hospitalization.

But PHMSA’s comment is mild compared to GA-PSC staff’s more than $2 mllion recommended fine for “failure to properly investigate the damage which led to this explosion”. See previous WWALS blog post for that and other GA-PSC staff comments on this AGL Incident Report – Gas Distribution System to the U.S Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Agency (PHMSA), including:

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AGL could face millions for blast 2019-04-03

On the front page of the newspaper of record in the biggest city in the Suwannee River Basin, yesterday in the Valdosta Daily Times, is a story by Terry Richards about the GA-PSC report on the AGL pipeline and the August 2018 Homerville, GA explosion that destroyed a coffeeshop and sent three women to the hospital with third-degree burns.

[Front Page]

The VDT did a bit of reporting by contacting AGL and its contractor: Continue reading

GA-PSC report on AGL pipeline and Homerville August 2017 2018 explosion 2019-03-29

Update 2019-04-04: Actually the gas did go through a sewer pipe; AGL didn’t locate or mark that pipe, either. And the GA-PSC report was on the front page yesterday of the newspaper of the largest city in the Suwannee River Basin.

Maybe the gas didn’t go up a sewer pipe to the coffee shop after all. And in its long-awaited report, Pipeline Safety at the Georgia Public Service Commission is not letting AGL hand the blame to its contractors. This recommended fine does not look like the previous slap on the wrist.

[Filed]

GA-PSC says AGL failed to locate and mark its pipeline in use and failed to locate “their abandoned natural gas facility at 107 Courtland Ave.,” which is the address of the Coffee Corner which blew up in August 2017 2018 and sent three women to the hospital with third-degree burns.

The report gets worse:

PROBABLE VIOLATION: AGLC failed to consider the use of a valve to stop the flow of gas, or to check the surrounding buildings and confined areas, during the response to this incident, as required by their procedures.

But those are just in the first two items, which only got a $15,000 recommended fine each. The same $15,000 level of fine is recommended for AGL’s failures to test its personnel for drug or alcohol after the incident.

The big item, with a $2,245,000 fine, is for AGL failing Continue reading