Category Archives: Pipeline

Gates Foundation viewed as political ploy

This article does not follow the Gates-worshiping herd: “The [Gates Foundation] even reports having a $5.3 million bond holding in Energy Transfer Operating, which is a partial owner of the Dakota Access pipeline —the subject of a very high-profile divestment campaign.

There is much more, well worth reading, in today’s article by Tim Schwab, The Nation, 16 February 2021, Bill Gates, Climate Warrior. And Super Emitter: The billionaire’s new book, a bid to be taken seriously as a climate campaigner, has attracted the usual worshipful coverage. When will the media realize that with Gates you have to follow the money? See below for where I’m quoted about Gates’ farmland investments. But first, more about pipelines.

As we dug up back in 2016, the same company, Enbridge, is part owner of both the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) and the Sabal Trail fracked methane pipeline that gouged under our Withlacoochee, Suwannee, Santa Fe, and Withlacoochee (south) Rivers in south Georgia and north Florida, destroying farmlands and forests along the way. We held and participated in numerous demonstrations about #NoDAPL, #NoSabalTrail, as well as other actions, including a legal case in Florida and feeding information to the case Sierra Club won in U.S. District Court. We continue to advocate against expansion of Sabal Trail, and to report on its leaks and other damage.

Stop Sabal Trail from the Suwannee
Stop Sabal Trail from the Suwannee, in #NoDAPL #NoSabalTrail @ Suwannee River State Park 2016-09-13

The article does not go easy on Gates or his Foundation, for example referring to the book he just published about climate change.

In his book, Gates several times praises the young people and activists who have energized climate politics—even drawing parallels to successful protests against the Vietnam War and divestment campaigns against South African apartheid. Yet Gates doesn’t seriously engage with these political movements, and seems oblivious to ways that they’ve pushed the mainstream conversation on climate change beyond the technical question of how to reduce carbon emissions—Gates’s narrow focus—to interrogate the political systems and economic models that, for example, channel climate change’s greatest impacts toward the poor and people of color.

Anthony Rogers-Wright, director of environmental justice for the New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, notes that even Joe Biden—a “centrist, neoliberal president”—understands that issues like equity and justice are central to climate change, as is evident in a recent executive order that mentions the term “environmental justice” 27 times. In Gates’s 250-page book, the term is completely absent.

“These billionaires, the best they could do, some would say, would be to be stop their foundations and pay their fair share of taxes,” says Continue reading

You can sign on to ask new U.S. administration for clean water

Suwannee Riverkeeper is one of the many signatories on this Waterkeeper Alliance first 100 days plan:


With the Biden administration set to assume power next month, we’re strategizing what the next four years will mean for our movement to protect clean water and a healthy environment. We cannot celebrate until every environmental protection is restored and strengthened.

As the new administration prepares its plans for the next four years, it’s essential that key clean water and climate priorities are addressed at the outset. The first 100 days of Biden’s presidency will set the stage for the administration’s environmental policies — they must get things right from the start.

Our Climate Our Future

The last four years have posed immeasurable challenges to environmental protection — devastating more than 100 environmental safeguards and undoing decades of progress in the fight for clean water and a sustainable planet.

We have a plan to right those wrongs and chart a new course — one that puts clean water and a healthy environment front and center. And, as always, we’ll need your help to execute it.

Sign your name today to support our proposal for the Biden administration to immediately prioritize our waterways, communities, and planet in its first 100 days.

Our asks for the Biden administration’s first 100 days are:

  • Protect Public Lands and Waters from Fossil Fuel Extraction: Ban new fossil fuel leasing and permitting on publicly owned federal lands;
  • Prioritize Environmental Justice: Immediately prioritize reversing the grave systemic damage done to environmental justice policy and enforcement in the United States over the past four years and charting a new just and equitable course for the 21st century;
  • Issue a New Executive Order to Restore the Clean Water Act: Expedite the process for repairing the broken definition of “waters of the United States,” repealing the Trump Dirty Waters Rule and replacing it with science-based protections for our waterways, and reinstating state and tribal authority and public participation rights under section 401 of the Clean Water Act;
  • Restore the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA): Repeal Trump’s NEPA rollback and strengthen public participation in projects impacting the environment; and
  • Rescind Trump’s Most Damaging Environmental Executive Orders: Revoke executive orders that directed all federal agencies to roll back our environmental protections in favor of the outgoing administration’s pro-polluter agenda.

These are the issues that will guide our advocacy efforts as the new administration assumes leadership — the same issues that the Waterkeeper movement has been advocating for for years. It’s now on all of us to ensure they become priorities of the new administration.

Show your support today by signing on to our proposal for the Biden administration’s first 100 days. We need each and every one of you to join in the fight for drinkable, fishable, swimmable water.


Follow this link to sign on:
http://action.waterkeeper.org/landing-pages/tell-biden-its-time-to-put-clean-water-and-a-healthy-environment-front-and-center

You may also want to ask for repeal of this EO, which promotes mining at the expense of everything else, including environment and property rights:

Executive Order 13817 of December 20, 2017 (A Federal Strategy To Ensure Secure and Reliable Supplies of Critical Minerals)

That EO is being used as an excuse by the Alabama company that wants to mine titanium far too near the Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia, which also affects Florida directly. Continue reading

Reroute: New Year Ichetucknee Upstream Paddle 2021-01-02

Update 2020-01-05 TV coverage.

Different entrance (South), different landing (Dampier’s)!

We’re going to paddle upstream and back, on this first paddle of 2021, all on the Ichetucknee River, within the Park. This is because we’re not doing a shuttle due to the COVID-19 virus pandemic spike, We will be checking temperatures with an infrared thermometer. If you feel at all sick with anything, please stay home. Wear masks on land (we will have extras) and keep your distance.

When: Gather 10:00 AM, Launch 10:30 AM, End 4:00 PM, Saturday, January 2, 2021

Put In: Dampier’s Landing, About a 10 minute walk from parking lot at South Entrance, 11627 SW Us Highway 27, Fort White, Florida 32071, in Columbia County.

GPS of South Entrance to Ichetucknee Springs S.P.: 29.9519915, -82.7753791

Bring boat wheels: otherwise that’s a long carry for a boat from parking to the landing.

Upstream: It’s only two miles up to the top spring. Ichetucknee Springs State Park tells us no Ichy Nippy Dip Day for 2021, also due to the virus pandemic. However, anybody who paddles all the way up can dip in the spring.
There will be current, but nobody has to paddle up any farther than they want to. There’s a good rest stop at Midpoint Landing, less than a mile up.

Take Out: Dampier’s Landing.
If you feel adventurous, you could paddle a mile farther downstrearm, all the way to the last takeout, South Landing. But if you do that, you need to get back more than half a mile by foot to your car. You’ll really need your boat wheels.

Bring: boat wheels and warm clothes! And the usual personal flotation device, boat paddles, food, drinking water, warm clothes, and first aid kit. Also trash pickers and trash bags: every WWALS outing is also a cleanup.

NOTE: The Ichetucknee is a non-disposable river; do not have any food or drinks in disposable packaging. All liquids and foods should be in reusable type containers. This helps keep litter out of our rivers.

Free: This outing is free to WWALS members, and $10 (ten dollars) for non-members. We recommend you support the work of WWALS by becoming a WWALS member today!

Fee: There is a $5.00 park fee.

Event: facebook, meetup

[Map: Dampier's Landing in Ichetucknee Springs State Park]
Map: Dampier’s Landing in Ichetucknee Springs State Park,
in the WWALS map of the Suwannee River Wilderness Trail.

Continue reading

Strom LNG reports late to FE: reverse merger expected 2020-11-01

Apparently Strom Inc. of the long-touted future LNG export operation in Crystal River, Florida, thinks some public company is so desperate for cash that it will let Strom take over its board for money.

“Additionally, Strom, Inc. is actively in early stage negotiations with a third-party entity regarding a reverse-merger and anticipate filing a report upon completion.”

What money? From a “term-sheet agreement” from un-named financiers that Strom has been claiming since at least April 2020. Lots of big talk, little LNG export action. Which is good news for Crystal River and Tampa, since the most likely export route for Strom would be by truck to Port of Tampa.

[Report, Map]
Report, Map

Strom also has big plans for exporting to “China, Latin America, and several Caribbean countries.”

“Specifically, Strom has received specific interest from LNG users in the Bahamas, China, Belize, Panama, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Honduras and is pursuing all qualified leads. These requests for LNG will far exceed Strom’s authorized capacity, and we will explore our options as we execute agreements. In accordance with Ordering Paragraph D of the Order, Strom will file any such long—term contracts with the DOE/FE following their execution.”

Specifically, interest is not a contract.

This is interesting:

“Strom has secured certain preliminary agreements for equipment and has selected AECOM to fill the role of our EPCM for the Project. AECOM is well versed in Oil and Gas and has been involved in a myriad of FERC approved Oil and Gas projects.”

Yes, AECOM was involved in for instance Elba Island LNG in Georgia.

But Strom LNG in Crystal River, FL, is not a FERC-approved project. Back in 2014 when Strom still planned to locate in Starke, FL, Strom filed with FERC for a Notice of Petition for Declaratory Order re Strom, Inc. under CP14-121. But FERC dismissed that request for lack of fee payment. No other FERC docket for Strom has appeared, so apparently Strom has neither FERC approval nor a declaratory order for Strom’s “mobile liquefaction unit be eligible to export LNG with exemption from FERC’s jurisdiction under the Natural Gas Act.”

As usual, Strom’s report was late. At least, unlike most of its earlier reports, it arrived before a WWALS member had to ask FE where it was.

Strom, Inc., Semi-Annual Report for October 2020

Here’s is Strom’s report, for FE Docket # 14-56-LNG, Order No. 3537. See also the PDF. Continue reading

Pictures: Ichetucknee, Santa Fe Rivers 2020-01-20

The manatee swam under my boat; I was sitting still. This was on the Ichetucknee River, just above the Santa Fe River. Shirley Kokidko led us on the Redo: Ichetucknee and Sante Fe River Paddle 2020-01-20.

We’re going again January 2, 2021.

[Manatee under boat, 14:07:12, 29.9327060, -82.8000880]
Manatee under boat, 14:07:12, 29.9327060, -82.8000880

This is just a small selection of pictures. There are more here:
https://wwals.net/pictures/2020-01-20–ichetucknee-santa-fe-pictures

Click on any small picture to see a larger one. Continue reading

New Year Ichetucknee to Santa Fe River Paddle 2021-01-02

Reroute: Different entrance (South), different landing (Dampier’s), and upstream paddle.

First paddle of 2021, from Ichetucknee to Santa Fe Rivers.

Ichetucknee Springs State Park tells us no Ichy Nippy Dip Day for 2021, due to the virus pandemic, but the North Entrance will be open. So see you there, but keep your distance. Then WWALS will paddle downstream. We will also paddle past the notorious Sabal Trail fracked methane pipeline.

When: Gather 9:00 AM, Launch 10:30 AM, End 4:00 PM, Saturday, January 4, 2020

Put In: Ichetucknee S.P. North Entrance, 8294 SW Elim Church Rd, Fort White, FL 32038.

GPS: 29.9859, -82.7602

Take Out: Hwy 129 Boat Ramp, William Guy Lemmons Memorial Park Ramp @ 296th St. Ramp, From Branford, travel east on US 27; turn right on US 129; travel south to 296th Street; turn right and William Guy Lemons Memorial Park is on the left, in Suwannee County. 29.912717, -82.860514

Bring: the usual personal flotation device, boat paddles, food, drinking water, warm clothes, and first aid kit. Also trash pickers and trash bags: every WWALS outing is also a cleanup.

NOTE: The Ichetucknee is a non-disposable river; do not have any food or drinks in disposable packaging. All liquids and foods should be in reusable type containers. This helps keep litter out of our rivers.

Free: Free: This outing is free to WWALS members, and $10 (ten dollars) for non-members. You can pay at the event or online.
https://wwals.net/donations/#outings

We recommend you support the work of WWALS by becoming a WWALS member today!
https://wwals.net/donations/#join

Fee: There is a $5.00 park fee.

Event: facebook, meetup

[Start]
Start, 2020-01-20.

Continue reading

Ichetucknee State Park 2020-01-04

When WWALS first paddled from Ichetucknee Springs in January, it happened to be both Ichy Nippy Dip Day and anniversaries of both Ichetucknee State Park and of Florida State Parks.

Here are some pictures from the shore.

We did it again two weeks later, and we’re doing it again in January 2021. Stay tuned.

Ichetucknee Spring

[No people yet]
No people yet

Continue reading

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 and JEA exiting Plant Scherer Unit 4 near Macon, GA 2020-06-26

The biggest, dirtiest, coal plant in the country is losing the owners of one of its four units: Plant Scherer, near Juliette, Georgia, north of Macon. Florida Power & Light (FPL) and the Jacksonville Electric Authority (JEA), are bailing out of their 76.4% and 23.6% shares of unit 4, by January 2022. Somebody else may buy into unit 4, and thus Georgia Power may keep it running. But maybe not, considering the reason for FPL and JEA exiting is that the plant is no longer economical to run. Meanwhile, where will the coal ash go?

At least maybe soon less mercury will go into the air and come down in the Withlacoochee and Alapaha Rivers and the Okefenokee Swamp.

JEA: Plant Scherer
Photo: JEA. Plant Scherer, located near Macon, Georgia, is operated by the Georgia Power Company. Unit 4, one of the four steam units located at the site, is partially owned by JEA. Unit 4 uses coal to produce JEA’s 200 MW portion of electricity output, which is delivered to Jacksonville over large, high-voltage electric transmission lines.

This move was signaled in FPL’s Ten Year Power Plant Site Plan 2020 – 2029, Submitted To: Florida Public Service Commission, April 2020:

(i) Retirement of Existing Generating Units That Are No Longer Economic to Operate:

…the retirement of FPL’s ownership portion (approximately 76%) of the coal-fueled Scherer Unit 4 unit in Georgia is planned by January 2022. FPL’s ownership portion of this unit is approximately 630 MW.

The news is not all good. Brendan Rivers, wjct, 26 June 2020, JEA Approves Plan To Close Unit At Plant Scherer, 1 Of Nation’s Biggest Carbon Emitters,

The transaction approved by the board includes JEA entering into a Continue reading

Sabal Trail still below gas capacity 2020-04-26

Almost two years after starting to push gas, Sabal Trail still isn’t using all it’s already authorized for, so why does it need Phase II? Why are we still wasting money, water, and air on pipelines when solar panels long ago could have provided more electricity, faster, cheaper, and with no emissions and no eminent domain?

[Operational Capacity 2020-04-26-0900]
Operational Capacity 2020-04-26-0900
Map and data from FERC-required Sabal Trail Informational Postings.

If the point of the Phase II Albany, GA, and Dunnellon, FL, Compressor Stations is to pipe more gas to the Reunion Compressor Station, somebody should tell Sabal Trail the Mouse is closed due to pandemic.

Looks like Sabal Trail’s deliveries got stuck in April. Continue reading