Monthly Archives: February 2014

Colquitt County attorney gives up too easily

Too-hasty conclusions about the Sabal Trail pipeline from the Colquitt County attorney at the 10 February 2014 Colquitt County Commission meeting.

Alan Mauldin wrote for the Moultrie Observer 10 February 2014, Sabal Trail: County can have input, but feds are in control,

County officials can’t decide which route a massive gas pipeline takes through the area or prevent its construction, but it can have an impact on safety, Colquitt County officials heard Monday.

Federal law trumps those of the state and county ordinances, so if federal officials grant a permit for a pipeline route there is little to be gained from opposing it, County Attorney Lester Castellow said.

Before Commissioners: Joseph T. Kelliher, Chairman; Nora Mead Brownell, and Suedeen G. Kelly.
PacifiCorp Project No. 2342-018

9. However, federal preemption does not necessarily mean Continue reading Colquitt County attorney gives up too easily

Sabal Trail solar and wind misinformation

A few weeks ago John Peconom of FERC referred me to Sabal Trail’s comments on solar power; something about all the area you’d have to clear to provide as much energy as that 36-inch pipeline. OK, I’ve looked, and it’s the same kind of disinformation Georgia Power used to spout about you’d need to clear an area the size of Atlanta to power Atlanta with solar power. Nevermind you already have an area that size: it’s called Atlanta! Rooftops, parking lots, streets, etc.: plenty of room. And Sabal Trail’s disinformation completely ignores that solar power (and wind) are growing far faster than methane energy production. If this is FERC’s justification for eminent domain to get fracked gas to Florida, it’s a very flimsy justification indeed. We shouldn’t expect anything more from a company that would profit by that eminent domain. But we should expect more from a tax-funded federal agency that is supposed to represent we the people.

Bear in mind that all new U.S. electric generation in September 2012 came from wind and solar. In October 2013 72.1% of all new U.S. capacity came from solar, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), using data from FERC itself. And FERC doesn’t even count the million solar rooftops that are going in.

In 10.3.3 Non-Gas Energy Alternatives in its Draft Resource Report 10: Alternatives (RR10), Sabal Trail correctly dismisses dirty and expensive coal, oil, and nuclear, and even hydro as major energy sources for flat Florida. However, what’s in there about wind and solar is just plain bogus. Continue reading Sabal Trail solar and wind misinformation

No fracking insurance: how long until no pipeline insurance?

What if negative publicity around pipelines gets as big as around fracking? Given the many recent high-profile pipeline accidents, that may already be happening. What happens to pipeline companies’ own insurance then? What happens to your homeowner or farm insurance?

CBS News 13 July 2012, Insurer Won’t Cover Gas Drill Fracking Exposure,

The memo reads: “After months of research and discussion, we have determined that the exposures presented by hydraulic fracturing are too great to ignore. Risks involved with hydraulic fracturing are now prohibited for General Liability, Commercial Auto, Motor Truck Cargo, Auto Physical Damage and Public Auto (insurance) coverage.”

It said “prohibited risks” apply to landowners who lease land for shale gas drilling and contractors involved in fracking operations, including those who haul water to and from drill sites; pipe and lumber haulers; and operators of bulldozers, dump trucks and other vehicles used in drill site preparation.

And it’s not just actual claims: Continue reading No fracking insurance: how long until no pipeline insurance?

Small town denies request to build a methane compressor station

A town of less than 3,000 people has done what larger local governments could also do: it used zoning to deny a methane gas pipeline facility.

Jodi Weigand wrote for today, South Buffalo denies XTO Energy request to build natural gas compressor station

South Buffalo Supervisors on Monday denied XTO Energy’s request to build a natural gas compressor station on the McIntyre Farm near Ford City Road and Grandview Drive.

The vote was met with applause and a chorus of thank yous from many of the 60 residents in attendance. Most of them spoke in opposition to the gas processing station being located so close to their homes in an area zoned residential.

“We’re very happy; they did the right thing,” said Craig Chodkowski, whose Ford City Road home is less than 500 feet from XTO’s chosen site.

He and other residents were concerned about noise and pollution from the facility, which was proposed to have four engines used to run the compressors located inside a building designed to muffle sound.

XTO officials could not answer Chodkowski’s most pressing question about a blast radius if something should go wrong.

That last part sounds familiar. In Searsmont, Maine, they didn’t stop a compressor station, and now they’re sorry.

This Pennsylvania town isn’t scared of a lawsuit, either: Continue reading Small town denies request to build a methane compressor station

700×500 feet incinerated, 5 dead, 3 burned: Texas Eastern Gas Pipeline 1985

Plus numerous houses and cars destroyed, all in one methane pipeline explosion in Beaumont, Kentucky in 1985. The same company, today known as Spectra Energy, had another explosion near Lancaster, Kentucky in 1986 that injured three people, two seriously, evacuated 77, and destroyed more buildings and cars, plus ripping 480 feet of pipe out of the ground.

Stu Beitler posted on GenDisasters 30 June 2010, Beaumont, KY Gas Line Explosion, Apr 1985,


Beaumont, Ky. (AP) — A natural gas line explosion killed at least five people, gouged a 20 foot deep crater and flattened six buildings in a tiny community, igniting fires that were visible 20 miles away, authorities said. At least three other people were seriously injured in the weekend blast that ripped up a section of Kentucky’s Route 90 and devastated a mile-square area, according to authorities.

Dick Brown, a spokesman for the state Department of Disaster and Emergency Services, said two houses, three mobile homes and a sawmill were destroyed in Marrowbone Hill, a settlement about a mile east of Beaumont, whose population is 60. The blast site is 90 miles south of Louisville.

A crater 100 feet long, 30 feet wide and 20 feet deep was left by the blast, which occurred about 9:30 p.m., Brown said.

Fires sparked by the explosion could be seen 20 miles away, officials said.

“It was described to me as resembling where a bomb went off,” said Bob Walter, a disaster and emergency services worker. “If you’ve ever been to Vietnam, that’s exactly what it looked like.” Three bodies were found early Sunday, and two more were discovered later in a destroyed house near the scene, officials said.

There’s more in that article.

Here’s National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Pipeline Accident Report Texas Eastern Gas Pipeline Company Ruptures and Fires at Beaumont, Kentucky on April 27, 1985 and Lancaster, Kentucky on February 21, 1986, NTSB/PAR-87/01, Continue reading 700×500 feet incinerated, 5 dead, 3 burned: Texas Eastern Gas Pipeline 1985

Chaco Canyon saved from fracking

The people can win over fossil fuel corporate greed.

Jeremy Nichols wrote for WildEarth Guardians 31 January 2014, Cultural Gem of Southwest Spared,

Dear Guardian,

For Chaco Canyon, this is a win to remember.

In early 2013, the Bureau of Land Management, buckling to the demands of the oil and gas industry, proposed to lease more than 16,000 acres for drilling and fracking right at the doorstep of Chaco Culture National Historical Park in northwestern New Mexico.

We pushed back however, and together with our allies mounted an all-out defense of this cultural treasure.

The efforts culminated last September when Guardians, joined by archaeological groups, the Chaco Alliance, and the San Juan Citizens Alliance, petitioned the Bureau of Land Management to protect 1.1 million acres as the “Greater Chaco Landscape Area of Critical Environmental Concern.”

Today, it’s official: we won.

In response to our efforts, the Bureau of Land Management officially decided to take “No Action.”

In other words, no oil and gas leases will be sold around Chaco Canyon, giving this landscape new hope for more lasting protection.

This victory is a testament to our dogged persistence and commitment not only to safeguarding the climate from fossil fuels, but also safeguarding the West’s irreplaceable natural values.

To be sure, we still have work to do. The Greater Chaco Landscape is still in need of full protection and the rush to frack in the American West remains the most significant threat to the land, wildlife, our water and our clean air.

Guardians is keeping Chaco safe from fracking, but our aim is a frack-free West. One victory at a time, we’re doing it.

For the Wild,

Jeremy Nichols
Climate and Energy Program Director
WildEarth Guardians

Chamblee, Georgia opposes a methane pipeline

Georgia City passes resolution against a methane pipeline, citing its duty to its own citizens as its highest priority. Other local governments could do the same. And that was for a proposed 24-inch pipeline; Spectra’s Sabal Trail proposes a 36-inch pipeline, for almost 3 and a half times as much gas and potential leaks and explosions. -jsq

Thomas S. Hogan, II, District 3, Chamblee City Council posted on his facebook page 20 Feb 2014 Chamblee Resolution Calls on the Members of the State Legislature to consider Changes:

WHEREAS, the Chamblee City Council holds its duty to protect its citizens as its highest priority; and

WHEREAS, on or around January 10, 2013, Atlanta Gas Light (AGL) began, in earnest, a construction project on Land Parcel 36, located at the end of a cul-de-sac on Shalimar Drive and between the 3200 Clairmont North Condominiums and Tanglewood Circle; also, directly under a main flight path of DeKalb-Peachtree Airport.; and

WHEREAS, on December 30, 2013 Land parcel 36 and the surrounding areas were annexed into the City of Chamblee; and

WHEREAS, the scope of the AGL construction project includes the installation of a 24-inch diameter 1080 psi steel pipeline reportedly tested at 720 psi to replace an existing 16-inch diameter 300 psi pipeline, and the addition of a new large gas regulator station/pigging station with a blast radius of up to 500 feet, according to the Pipeline Safety Trust Landowner’s Guide; and

WHEREAS, both the new regulator station and the larger pipeline are Continue reading Chamblee, Georgia opposes a methane pipeline

EPA and Spectra knew about PCBs as early as 1985

That was four years before the record 1989 $15 million fine against Spectra (then Texas Eastern Transmission Corp.). What other safety problems does Spectra know that it’s not telling?

Philip Shabecoff wrote for the New York Times 17 March 1987, DATA SHOW E.P.A. DELAYED WARNING ABOUT PCB PERIL

The Environmental Protection Agency knew about PCB contamination at specific sites along the Texas Eastern pipeline as early as the autumn of 1985 but took no immediate action to protect public health at the sites, according to internal agency documents.

Agency officials had said that they were unable to act more quickly to deal with the contamination because they had insufficient information from the company.

In case you’re having trouble following all the name changes, Continue reading EPA and Spectra knew about PCBs as early as 1985

FERC Notice of Intent for Environmental Impact Statement and Scoping Meetings

Includes a list of Scoping Meetings in March 2014 (see SpectraBusters calendar), for all three pipelines: Transco Hillabee Expansion, Sabal Trail Transmission, and Florida Southeast Connection. On FERC’s website including PDF and Word used to produce the HTML below. -jsq



Sabal Trail Transmission, LLC Docket Nos. PF14-1-000

Florida Southeast Connection, LLC PF14-2-000

Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Company, LLC PF14-6-000






(February 18, 2014)

The staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC or Commission) will prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) that discusses the environmental impacts of the planned Southeast Market Pipelines (SMP) Project. The SMP Project is comprised of three separate, but connected, natural gas transmission pipeline projects: Sabal Trail Transmission, LLC’s (Sabal Trail’s) Sabal Trail Project in Alabama, Georgia, and Florida; Florida Southeast Connection, LLC’s (FSC’s) Florida Southeast Connection Project (FSC Project) in Florida; and Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Company, LLC’s (Transco’s) Hillabee Expansion Project in Alabama. The environmental impacts of all three projects will be considered in one EIS, which will be used by the Commission in its decision-making process to determine whether the SMP Project is in the public convenience and necessity.

This notice, which is being sent to Continue reading FERC Notice of Intent for Environmental Impact Statement and Scoping Meetings

Real questions at Gilchrist County Commission

Two hours of first questions from a citizens committee with Spectra’s reps expected to answer right there in front of everybody, then questions from locals and people from many counties around, including attorneys representing landowners and other county commissions cross-examining Spectra on the spot. The Chairman of the Gilchrist County Commission said there was a general opinion among the populace that they were asking specific questions and getting only general answers. Congratulations, Chairman, Commission, staff, Committee, and everyone who asked questions for showing the world how it’s done, and for exposing Spectra’s evasions to public scrutiny.

Brian Fahrenthold (Spectra), Pete Butts (Citizen Committee), Bobby Crosby (County Administrator), Stephanie Denardo (WUFT), David M. Lang Jr. (County Attorney), Gilchrist County Commission, County Clerk, and more Spectra reps in foreground

You’ll see for yourself in the videos of the whole thing. Almost all: so much both camera batteries ran down, and it took a bit to find a plug.

One of the citizen committee questions was about Spectra’s safety record. Brian Fahrenthold assured the commission that Continue reading Real questions at Gilchrist County Commission