Sabal Trail PR countered by actual information in the Suwannee Democrat

On the same day, the Suwannee Democrat posted a fluff piece from a PR firm for Sabal Trail and actual reporting from the recent Open House in Jasper, FL that gives some answers Sabal Trail did not. They’re both well worth reading, the first for its absolute certainty of safety, cleanliness, and no export, and the second for its actual evidence of hazards, record of safety failures, and already-authorized LNG export operations. Oh, and Ms. Grover admitting route changes (caused by objections) blew her end-of-October filing date. The second for opponents attempting to get answers from Sabal Trail and having to get them from other protesters who have done the research Sabal Trail denies can be done. The “epitome of ignorance and greed” indeed. Please go read.

Sabal Trail PR, 27 October 2014, Sabal Trail: Setting the record straight,

The following information was sent to the Jasper News from Bascom Communications & Consulting, LLC Senior Vice President Kristen Bridges about the concerns brought up at the open house in Jasper regarding the Sabal Trail pipeline.

Pipeline Safety — It is well established that natural gas transmission pipelines are the safest method of transporting energy products….

There you have it: “it is well established”. Ignore all those corrosions, leaks, and explosions. And how about electric transmission wires, for tranporting energy without fossil fuel “energy products”? How about solar panels on roofs, where most of the energy is used directly on site, without need for transport?

While we already have a strong safety record, our goal is zero incidents as no incident is acceptable.

Does that mean Sabal Trail is abandoning their pipeline boondoggle and turning to solar energy, which even their own figures say would take only half as much acreage as their proposed pipeline?

Natural gas is lighter than air which means in the highly unlikely event that natural gas escapes from the pipeline, the gas can only travel up through the soil into the atmosphere, where it dissipates.

Tell that to the people of Bell, Florida about that giant fireball from a 4-inch pipeline 27 June 2012.

Also, the minimum amount of land required to harness enough solar energy for the compressor station, under ideal conditions, ranges from 200 to 250 acres of land. A typical compressor station occupies a site of approximately 40-50 acres.

And the thousands of acres the pipeline would occupy? Forgot about those already, Sabal Trail?

I could go on, but almost every point in that PR piece is like that: half truths that only make sense if you don’t know the context or history. Then there’s this whopper:

Insurance for properties with pipelines — While some people have raised concern about property values and insurance rates we want to assure you that there is no evidence demonstrating that natural gas pipelines affect home loans, property values or insurance costs.

Right, tell that to the people around here who already can’t sell their property because of rumors there’s a pipeline proposed. I can testify from personal experience that a pipeline diminishes property values. Sabal Trail cites a study by FERC (wholly funded by the industries it regulates) and one by a natural gas association (of those same industries). Look outside the pipeline bubble and you find lots of the evidence Sabal Trail claims doesn’t exist that pipelines do indeed affect property values and insurance.

There is one truth in there: yes, both EPA Adminsitrator Gina McCarthy and President Obama are pushing pipelines. Their opinion doesn’t make pipelines clean, safe, or for domestic use of the fracked methane. Sabal Trail didn’t mention all the federal government officials outright admitting that pipelines are because the glut of gas from fracking wants a market, including Office of Fossil Energy chief Paula Gant and FERC Commissioner Tony Clark. Sabal Trail didn’t mention all the Congress members pushing “free trade” agreements including the Trans-Pacific Parternship and TAFTA plus just blanket non-Free-Trade-Agreement LNG export because methane prices overseas are five times as high.

You can believe a PR firm paid to produce propaganda for a pipeline company, or you can believe people who have actually researched the issues.

Joyce Marie Taylor, Jasper News, 27 October 2014, Pipeline open house draws protesters,

Sabal Trail Transmission LLC representatives held an open house event on Tuesday, Oct. 21, in Jasper, which drew a large crowd of local, and not so local, residents who wanted to learn more about the project, as well as others who came to voice their objections to the project in general. Protesters from SpectraBusters, a citizen-organized, citizen-run group that spans multiple counties and states, were out on US 129 with posters alerting motorists to say no to the pipeline.

This is the longest article quoting actual pipeline opponents I’ve seen. Here’s just a snippet to indicate why the whole thing is worth reading:

Patricia Tayman owns 10 acres in Suwannee County and she was present at the open house, along with other SpectraBusters supporters. Tayman said she is worried about her water wells if there was ever a natural gas pipeline incident or explosion.

Tayman asked Grover if the majority of the natural gas was going to be exported out of the country. In fact, she asked the question three separate times, until she got a definitive answer.

Grover stated, “These contracts are for domestic use at their electric generation facilities. At this point in time, our customer’s plans (Duke and FPL) are for it to stay in the state.”

Note that “at this point in time”: if the pipeline gets built, anybody could ship methane through it for whatever destination. And nevermind Sabal Trail’s own PR piece said a few days later:

In fact, the exportation of natural gas is an entirely separate permitting process required by the U.S. Department of Energy, and Sabal Trail is not seeking any such approval.

Sabal Trail doesn’t have to seek any such approval: the end customers do that, according to FERC’s own John Peconom, back in Moultrie, GA 5 March 2014. And three end users right at the end of this proposed pipeline chain in Florida have already gotten approval from the Office of Fossil Energy.

OK, one more, then please go read the whole thing:

“There’s been thousands of people that you’ve shook up by all these bogus different routes,” Tayman told Grover. “You’ve got so many people from Georgia to Alabama and in Florida that are just in a tailspin and concerned, and that fright turns into anger.”

Tayman continued, “I’m tired of hearing that this thing is safe.”

Tayman said when a natural gas disaster happens it will be up to the area residents to clean up the mess.

“I don’t think the majority of these people are willing to jeopardize their drinking water,” Tayman said. “This is the epitome of ignorance and greed.”


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