If affected salt and other minerals in subsurface caverns are enough to deny a FERC permit, drinking water in the Floridan Aquifer should be, too. The “first formal protest of Texas colonists against Mexican tyranny” was signed at Turtle Bayou, Chambers County, Texas, where an Alabama Company four years ago wanted to store natural gas underground with an associated pipeline that FERC denied. Communities and local governments throughout the Floridan Aquifer have signed protests against fossil fuel company tyranny in the form of the unnecessary, destructive, and hazardous Sabal Trail fracked methane pipeline.
FERC denied that permit application for Turtle Bayou Gas Storage Company in 2011; one of only two pipeline applications that FERC’s John Peconom could find that FERC ever denied. The applicant appealed. FERC replied in Dockets CP10-481-002 and CP10-481-000, ORDER DENYING REQUEST FOR REHEARING OR RECONSIDERATION (Issued April 11, 2012),
The June 16 Order found that the proposed project was not required by the public convenience and necessity.4 As described in the Commission’s policy statement on certificat ion of new facilities,5 if a proposed project will cause adverse impacts, the project proponent must demonstrate a sufficient showing of need for the project to balance the adverse impacts.6 The owners of the oil, gas, and other minerals7 (including salt) in the salt formation where the proposed subsurface caverns would be located protested the application, asserting that Turtle Bayou had not obtained the necessary property and mineral rights for construction and operation of the proposed project. The Commission found that the potential use of eminent domain to acquire the necessary property rights would be a significant adverse impact on Mineral Interest Owners,8 and concluded that Turtle Bayou had not demonstrated a specific showing of need for its proposed storage facility in proportion to the identified adverse impact on Mineral Interest Owners.9
Chambers County, Texas (east of Galveston Bay) and Turtle Bayou look a lot like much of south Georgia and north Florida, where you’ll see many similar pine trees, ponds, and lakes. If oil, gas, and other minerals under Turtle Bayou count that much, the underground caverns and above-ground springs of central Florida and south Georgia should count at least as much. And if a salt dome under those Texas trees and bayou is enough of a hardship to deny eminent domain, drinking water in the Floridan Aquifer under south Georgia and all of Florida should be more than enough.
It’s time for FERC to follow its own rules again and deny the Sabal Trail pipeline. Come on, FERC, free yourself from the tyranny of your 100% “cost recovery” from the industries you “regulate” by actually doing some regulation for a change!