EPD will hold a public hearing about Sabal Trail compressor air quality permit

There will be another public comment period and a public hearing on Sabal Trail’s latest air quality permit application, said Eric Cornwell of GA-EPD just now by telephone. He also said:

“So far, nobody seems to want this thing. Usually somebody is for jobs or taxes, but not this time. One of the first times I’ve run into a situation where neither the residents nor the county officials want it.”

I mentioned that more than a year ago in Gilchrist County, Florida, Sabal Trail had admitted they had already hired contractors from some other state to do the actual pipeline installation (Sabal Trail interrogated in Gilchrist County, Florida @ GCC 2014-02-20). And that people who have seen such pipelines put in say the contractors usually arrive in their own RVs, so there aren’t even many local hotel stays, much less jobs. We discussed many other reasons people don’t want it, ranging from the most obvious (eminent domain), to noise, environmental destruction, and hazards including proximity to schools and sinkholes in the fragile karst limestone containing our Floridan Aquifer drinking water. The bottom line is Sabal Trail just wants to use Georgia as a passthrough with no benefits and lots of downside.

Sabal Trail did have to refile for a new air quality permit because they moved the proposed compressor site and changed some equipment. But they did that back in July. The current application is the same number 23350 that’s online on the SpectraBusters website. Minor source applications are not online at GA-EPD. You can file an open records request and come see a paper copy in the GA-EPD office in Atlanta. You can copy it, which Steve Caley of Greenlaw did, which is why SB ended up with a copy.

Eric Cornwell says GA-EPD will be starting a new online document system probably early next year. We shall see.

Meanwhile, as we know, the public comment period for this application ended August 7th. Cornwell says those comments are being reviewed by permitting engineer Bradley Bellflower. Bellflower and his manager and Eric Cornwell will consult.

A third public comment period will open about a month from now, continuing until about a week after a public hearing.

The public hearing will be some time soon, probably in October. GA-EPD always holds them on either Tuesdays or Thursdays, usually starting at 6:30 PM with a Q&A session. They continue with public hearing portion, where people speak and DNR transcribes and tape records. They try to end at 8:30 PM, although that may be difficult this time.

Eric Cornwell is looking for a large venue for this one, expecting several hundred people, preferably somewhere in downtown Albany.

Per telephone discussion, I am sending him a link to the SB list of resolutions and letters from elected officials, including the Sanford Bishop letter and all the county and city resolutions of which I am aware. Please send any not listed there to spectrabusters@gmail.com.

Now if some county or city would get on with an ordinance rooted in its Comprehensive Plan, or just apply existing zoning ordinances….


38 thoughts on “EPD will hold a public hearing about Sabal Trail compressor air quality permit

  1. I don’t know where you got your info. the facts are none of the contracts have been let to construct the pipe line. As to your statement about RVS you are right a lot of the workers do have them and they fill up the RV parks that are empty in the summer time.As for jobs many FL. people work on them I know I am one.As for contractors there are no qualified pipe line contractors big enough to build a pipe line of this size or length in FL..As to workers if you are not an experanced pipe liner you have no business working on one (no place to learn when working around loaded lines)

      1. John yes I will introduce myself my name is Charles I am a retired pipeliner I am a full supporter in wind and solar but until that time comes we need that gap Do you or any one else think power cos. just want to build a pipe line just to spend billions of dollars they have laying around,the demand is here now.Maby in time when solar and wind becomes the norm. in Fl and every ware else pipe lines won’t be needed as much.

        1. John I am back, had to go to an eye apt. will be stuck in the house untill my eyes are back to normal.My wife and I are big on solar and wind I guess the same as you,the reality is the utility cos. are not,cuts into there profits.If every house had a solar system,there income would drop to half if not more (explain that to the investers).I am sure when I said I was a pipeliner,your first thoughts were gothya,when I was 21,newly married,pipe lining paid a lot more than the local garage.I joined the union and am a proud member of the international union of operating engineers (50 years) as to the politics ,my wife goes to talahassie 2 wks. each year on behalf of our union,she can tell these politicians are not keen on solar and wind,maby some day it will happen here,in the mean time? Now about contractors,there are no qualified contractors of that size based in FL.No gas co.is going to let any tom ,dick and harry with out a proven track record build a pipe line for them.The welders have to be certified,equipment operators have to have operator qualification (OQ) as do truck drivers and laborers also all supervision.Ask your self how many of these low paying contractors here in FL. have these skilled people? Let me answer that question none.Any one I know with these skills and training are working for the big boys.Maby you have heard the saying,when it comes to buying good quality oats you have to pay a premium price,if you want low quality oats and you don’t mind that they have already been run thru a horse these come cheap.As to where I get my info.having been in the industry for 50 years I have met a lot of people from the top to bottom including people who work for the EPA, F.E.R.C. and any one else involved in the pipe line industry.I don’t listen to the crap that some people pull out of there XXXXX As to the article I read in spectra the birds, deer,and what ever the all come back,usally to better conditions than what they left. As to spectra watch I will say it again the contracts have not been awarded yet,i know I talk to some of the contractors on a weekly basis who want a piece of the action.Let me mention one more thing about workers coming to town in there RVS I am one of them.Where do you think we buy our gas,eat meals buy food.we spend money where we are working.When I worked out west and up north I hope you don’t think I sent back to FL. for these things.What I am trying to say is the local merchants make a lot more than what they normaly would.Hope I have answered some of your questions.

  2. Charles, Southern Company and Duke Energy are buying solar big-time, and are advocating solar power in Florida:


    Only two years ago Southern Company kept saying solar power was just a niche play that might happen in a decade. Now solar power is the first thing on SO’s list of power sources, and SO is busily installing solar farms and promoting rooftop solar.

    Even FPL will flip to solar soon. Probably about the time they cancel this pipeline.

    Thanks again for confirming that Sabal Trail’s claims of pipeline installation jobs are bogus.

    As for Spectra’s assertion in Gilchrist County that they’d already conctracted for installation, take that up with them: they’re the ones said it.

    As for “we spend money where we are working”, sure, for a few months, then you’re gone, leaving the locals with the clearcut gouge through the countryside and the hazards. One softball tournament such as VLPRA organizes probably brings in a lot more business than a pipeline installation, and those tournaments happen every year, without any environmental destruction or lingering hazards.


    1. John, I wouldn’t hold my breath thinking this pipeline is going to be cancelled.
      As to the pipeline being let, the first bids were advertised for in June, 2015, not a year ago. Just last week after talking with a friend who is a Superintendent for a major pipeline construction company, he confirmed to me who the successful bidders were. But the contracts have not been signed yet, they will be in the near future. As to your statement of working only a few months, you are totally wrong. This project will take at least a year once construction starts. I know, been there, done that. As to your clear cut gouge, they do go through wooded areas from time to time, and that part, I never liked. I knew if I refused to knock down the trees, there would be someone else sitting in that seat getting paid to do it. That gouge, you are referring to, stop and think, when that pipeline is completed and grass is growing, you will not see any structures (house, factories, whatever) being built over that pipeline. It will return to its natural state with the exception of the removed trees. The birds, bees, deer will have a great time. Unlike a housing development or factory, the wildlife will not return, there is nothing to return to. My wife was involved in softball tournaments for many years, there is not that much profit for the community, but it does not compare to the thousands of dollars spent in the community by the workers and their families. There are hundreds of workers and the last job I was on in 2010-2011, there were over a thousand workers alone (not including their families) who contributed to the community for the term of 13 months. Do the math. These workers and their families use grocery stores, retail outlets, laundry mats, pharmacies, the list goes on and on. By the way, the job I referred to, now, you can’t tell there’s a pipeline there. It has gone back to its natural state, in some cases better than before. If you have heard of “The Villages” not far from my house, there are thousands of homes built and being built that have eaten up hundreds of acres of land that will not ever return to its natural state where the animals roam free. Which do you think is better, a housing development scarring the land or a pipeline that is built and the land returning to its natural state and other than the people complaining about this pipeline being built in a year or two after construction stops, you will never know it’s even there.

  3. Charles,

    I have two pipelines on my property. They continue to be problems forever.

    Regarding contracts, once again, it’s Spectra who you’re saying is wrong; watch the videos.

    On softball tournaments, I’ve seen the local numbers, and they continue year after year, while pipeline workers, no matter how many months, come, gouge, and are gone.

    I think wetlands and forests are better, not to mention existing houses and schools without a blast radius including them. There’s no reason we should accept any destruction or risk for something that is of no local benefit.


  4. John what problems are you having with the pipelines on your property? I never said spectra was wrong, just some of the uninformed people who feed into this debate. Like I said before my wife was into soft ball, she was a coach for girls, I attended some of the games. the tournaments lasted two three days. I can assure 1 pipeline lasting 1 year will bring in more money to the community than any soft ball tournament will bring in, in 20 years. Any business I know of would rather make that money in one year rather than 20.

  5. John I tried to watch the videos you mentioned the sound quality is so poor I couldn’t hear what they were saying. I wonder the contracts you are referring to, could they be for the design and surveying of the pipeline right of way? Not the actual construction. I called some friends who work for the construction cos. (superintendents) they told me that none of the jobs were let last year but just recently as I mentioned early. The design and survey was started last year.

  6. Charles,

    So watch the Sabal Trail video from Gilchrist County. Oh, you can’t! They didn’t make one.

    Seems you can’t hear what you don’t want to hear.

    Here once again for those who want to hear are the LAKE videos from Gilchrist County, Florida, where Spectra, interrogated for two hours about Sabal Trail, had to listen to little things they claimed to be unfamiliar with, like their Edison, New Jersey negligence, corrosion, and explosion that made hundreds homeless, destroyed apartments, and literally scared one woman to death.




  7. John, up to this point I thought we were having a civil conversation. Now it seems I am getting under your skin. I hear loud and clear, heard the same arguments for 50 yrs. on every job I worked on. As to the mention of the homeless. How long were they homeless 1 day 2 days a week? You know as well as I do, the homeless were put back in homes, apartments were rebuilt. And yes it is awful some one died as when a plane crashes and 100’s die or when a car accident occurs every second an some one dies. Accidents do happen, sometimes by negligence and sometimes by nature. There is a difference between interrogation and questioning. Appears to be a hard play on words.

    1. Charles,

      You continue to be amusing.

      Are you also “not familiar” with Spectra’s infamous Edison, New Jersey apartment fire, like Spectra’s paid reps always seem to be? You make it sound like Spectra provided new apartments out of the good of their black little heart. Actually, no:

      “In 1994, a 52-inch gas pipeline owned by Texas Eastern Transmission Company exploded after it was compromised by a private contractor. The tragedy burned 24 apartment buildings in the Durham Woods apartment complex, killing one person and forcing 1,500 residents to flee their homes and belongings. Representing more than 500 of the victims, Lombardi and Lombardi served as lead counsel in a class action that resulted in a $57 million settlement for burns and other injuries, emotional duress and property damage.”


      At least you admit “accidents do happen”, which is more than Spectra admits.


      Indeed, almost always by negligence, according to Spectra’s thirty year track record of negligence, corrosion, leaks, and explosions.


      That’s why Canada’s National Energy Board (NEB) on July 14th told Spectra to fix its
      “management system failures.”:

      “The Board expects Westcoast to address safety concerns on a systemic basis, throughout all its gas processing plants and facilities. Based on recent violations described below, the Board is not confident safety concerns are being addressed in this manner.”


      Meanwhile, solar panels don’t leak or explode, need no cooling water, no fuel, no pipelines, and no eminent domain.

      Interrogation is indeed what Spectra needs. NEB got tired of doing it case by case and sent Spectra a blanket order. As should we all.

      No new pipelines.

      Let the sun rise.


      1. John, I didn’t mention Spectra at all. You make it sound like these people had no place to live until this accident was settled. As for the explosion, I am not surprised there was a lawsuit. But the people who lost their homes didn’t sit out there until the lawsuit was settled. Who are you trying to convince, you or me? Naturally the attorneys went after everybody who could spell pipeline, but also, it was a private contractor who hit the pipeline, causing the accident, not the pipeline itself. Of course the pipeline owners would not want to accept the blame for someone else’s stupidity. Also the article doesn’t say who was the one found to be “at fault” for this. One more note, I happened to have worked on that Texas Eastern job when it was built.

        1. Charles,

          No doubt Spectra thanks you for not mentioning them in relation to one of their most notorious acts of negligent destruction: the Edison, NJ apartment fire.

          The NTSB report placed the blame squarely on the owner of the pipeline, Texas Eastern, now Spectra Energy.


          Just like NEB and PHMSA placed the blame on Spectra for more recent acts of negligence, corrosion and leaks.

          And just like EPA and Pennsylvania placed the blame on Spectra for PCB spills at dozens of sites along that same Texas Eastern pipeline.



          For thirty years or more this has been going on, and there’s no sign of improvement. Yet Spectra (and you) would have us believe they’re a safe company.


  8. John, there you go another twisting of words. Where in my posts did I say Spectra was a safe co.? You need to read the NTSB report again. They in fact said the accident was mechanicly induced. (hit by a bulldozer or backhoe) Evan thou there was corrosion, that was not the cause. I am reasonably sure some spectra people are reading these posts and getting some laughs.

  9. Charles,

    Apparently you didn’t read the NTSB report, including these parts, in which NTSB laid the blame at Spectra’s feet:

    “3. The mechanically-induced gouge at the rupture initiation likely created a crack in the gouge that grew to a critical size, most likely as a result of metal fatigue.
    There’s more:

    “7. Although many TETCO requirements and procedures surpassed those required by Federal regulations, the company’s surveillance procedures did not stress that employees identify excavation activities within industrial locations that could endanger its pipeline.

    “9. TETCO’s lack of automatic- or remote-operated valves on Line 20 prevented the company from promptly stopping the flow of gas to the failed pipeline segment, which exacerbated damage to nearby property.

    You’d best hope the pipeline company is responsible, or they may try to leave you hanging out to dry next time you work on a pipeline that fails like that one did.


  10. John, you seemed to have left out paragraph 1-2-4 and 8. Paragraph 8 sort of says it all, where Quality Materials did not notify there employees about the presence of or potential hazards posed by the pipeline within the plant property, or implement precautionary measures to protect line 20 from excavation damage by employees. Paragraph 2 states ,TETCO’S line 20 was gouged by excavation equipment, such as a backhoe, at some undetermined time. Paragraph 3, where it says mechanically induced, That mean hit by a backhoe or some other piece of equipment. No where in the report did the NTSB place the blame squarely on the owners of the pipeline. One could read the conclusions page and put a little blame on all parties involved. As to hanging out to dry, I worked on the Texas Eastern job. I am not going to lose any sleep over your last statement. It is awful that the accident happened. If we were to stop building pipelines to prevent any future accidents or shut down all existing pipelines as you would like to see happen, should we also quit building cars or airplanes and shut all the ones that have been built to prevent accidents?

  11. Charles,

    Pretty funny phrasing you used: “sort of says it all”, as in you’re ignoring what it means.

    If you worked on that pipeline, you know better than I do that the pipeline company hired the contractors and is responsible for their activities.

    As to how to live without fossil fuels, I’m glad you asked. Here’s a plan:


    And right now Sabal Trail’s own figures have already shown that half the proposed pipeline right of way acreage can produce just as much solar power.


    No new pipelines.

    The sun is already rising.


  12. John, doing it again trying to tell me and the rest of the readers what my words mean. Guess you didn’t read the NTSB report close enough. It was the plant owners equipment that the aerial photographs showed operating over the pipeline. (Quality Materials Inc.) in the area of the sediment pond not the contractor who built the pipeline. Another incorrect statement on your part. Where in my post did I ask you how to live with out fossil fuel? Seems you have a bad habit of making statements like that. Now let me address the acreage part. How many of the land owners who don’t want this pipeline going across there land would give up all that acreage to build a solar farm? Could take maybe 50-100 acres for each farm. Just asking. Would like to hear that argument.

  13. Charles,

    Thanks for admitting you actually read the NTSB report. In particular, the NTSB response to TETCO’s (Spectra’s) attempt to get off the hook for that backhoe damage.

    Good try, attempting to spin one detail to ignore Spectra’s negligence for not fixing that backhoe damage before its pipeline blew up and destroyed an apartment building, ending up with Spectra having to pay tens of millions in resulting lawsuits.

    NTSB didn’t buy Spectra’s attempt to wiggle off that hook, and your attempt is no better.

    Everyone can read that NTSB response for themselves, and see it also says Spectra should have marked the pipeline, should have instrumented it and inspected it, and should have used tougher pipe:


    “4. Exempting pipelines in any class location from Federal marking requirements increases the potential for excavation damages. Clearly marking the route of Line 20 through the asphalt plant property may have increased the likelihood that the employees of Quality Materials, Inc. notified TETCO prior to excavating.

    “5. Periodic instrumented inspection of pipelines can identify most types of injurious defects and damages before a rupture occurs.

    “6. A pipe metal having good toughness properties may have sustained the gouges without failure or sustained a substantially smaller failure opening that would have reduced the rate at which gas was released. The brittle failure of Line 20 allowed the release of the natural gas at the maximum possible rate.”

    That’s in addition to the other points already noted.

    As to fossil fuels, apparently you don’t read your own comments: ” If we were to stop building pipelines to prevent any future accidents or shut down all existing pipelines as you would like to see happen, should we also quit building cars or airplanes and shut all the ones that have been built to prevent accidents?”

    And Mark Z. Jacobson’s study has an answer to your question about how to live without fossil fuels, including how to power cars and airplanes:


    The beauty of solar farms is they don’t require any eminent domain.
    That and solar power is faster, cheaper, far cleaner, far safer, requires no cooling water, no fuel, and no pipelines.

    Fossil fuel pipelines do require eminent domain.

    No new pipelines.

    Solar and wind power now.


  14. John, If the gas co. had known there was a potential problem they would have dug up that section and repaired it. Read the NTSB report again there is a paragraph that addresses that. I am not trying to wiggle off any hook, I have no skin in that game. When that pipeline was built it was marked. Fast forward, parking lot put in, marker poles get pulled out, Some one decides they don’t like the looks of a marker pole on there land, they pull them out, farmers plow there land they pull them out, I know this one well I was raised on a farm. Tougher pipe, They are only required to use the wall thickness of pipe for the pressure that the pipeline runs. should they use tougher pipe? yes, but like any business they are only going to use what the federal govt. requires, Its like saying, If that wing on that airplane had been stronger it would not have broke off. I know something about airplanes. I am a fixed wing and helicopter pilot, I have an A&P cert. (airframe & power plant mechanic) also IA cert. (inspection authorization ). Periodic inspections, They are only going to do them when required. Blame this one on the federal govt. If the govt. wants them done more often, then pass a law requiring that. Sure tougher pipe might have sustained the gouge, again it was not required, also the gouge was not present in the 1986 when the line was pigged, read the NTSB report. Mark Z. study, do you know any one who wants to crawl back in a cave until 2050? I sure don’t and I don’t think you would either. Didn’t ask the question about how to live without fossil fuels. Read my posts a little closer. Eminent domain, maybe not, power plants can just buy property and build a solar farm. But wait until some land owner says no I don’t want to sell and besides I don’t want to see that eye sore, then see how fast eminent domain enters the picture. ( I don’ think they are eye sores .I like to see them)

    1. John, I guess by now you have figured out I am going to respond to all of your posts. And besides I am sure the other readers are getting a kick out of reading them. I am also sure that your followers are saying go get him, mine are. Mark Z. he is only speculating this could happen. (2050 what the heXXX) you also say its off in the future ( 10 years) ok so until that happens no pipelines to fill the gap, just go back to the cave. Batteries glad you mentioned them. Ever been around a battery plant, trust me the smell will knock you down. How about the materials used to make a battery, plastics (made from oil) the list goes on. Do you suppose the other materials come from, the ground (open pit mining) boy talk about an eye sore and pollution. If you haven’t been to Fl. lately you should take a trip to Fl. every where you look new houses roads that were good enough 10 years ago, not so much now, they can’t handle the traffic. As we speak 75 is going from 4 lanes to 6 and 8 lanes. every one is moving to FL. solar and wind can’t keep up. Up north PA. – NY. Ohio. etc. etc. ok could happen, that’s because every one is moving to FL. they won’t need as much energy up there.

        1. John, what part was made up? Maybe you would like to enlighten the audience. You are paying attention to me aren’t you?

  15. Charles Kelly,

    Can’t say as I read your latest stream-of-consciousness strings or words with much attention.

    I do thank you for demonstrating what so many of us have seen in Spectra dog and pony shows: blueshirts spouting whatever drivel they think will overwhelm landowners.

    Meanwhile, opposition to new pipelines is spreading, most recently to medical professionals.



    1. John, you are responding. The blue shirts you refer to as “spouting the drivel” are your words. These people are trying to inform the affected landowners and/or the public as to the process that will take place when the pipeline is being built. Eighty professionals out of how many thousands all over the country is a very minute number. There are “concerns” and “risks” with everyday life. Staying out in the sun too long is an extreme risk, it causes cancer. You have to use some common sense on every issue. I would be reasonably sure that these 80 health professionals will also tell you to stay out of the sun, it’s bad for you.

  16. Charles Kelly,

    If you want to interpret using you as a straight man to keep reminding people that fossil fuels are obsolete 20th century sources of power and solar and wind are here right now in the 21st century as “responding”, you just keep on thinking that.

    Yes, indeed, I said Spectra blueshirts spout drivel.

    And fracked methane pipelines leak methane along the whole line from the wells to the power plants to the LNG export:


    No new pipelines.
    Solar power now.


  17. John, there you go again. Where did you read that I said that fossil fuels are obsolete 20th century sources of power and solar and wind are here right now in the 21st century. You seem to have a bad habit of making things up as you see them, and by now I am sure every one else who reads your posts knows it to. As to your claim of leaks along the whole line, LOL that is the best one you have pulled out of your asXXX to date. No new pipelines, I wouldn’t hold your breath on that one.

  18. Charles Kelly,

    You don’t understand what a straight man is? That is funny!

    Let me spell it out for you: you parrot a pipeline talking point or make a personal insult, and I again remind people that fossil fuels are obsolete 20th century sources of power and solar and wind are here right now in the 21st century.

    Citi GPS pointed this out two years ago:


    And a peer-reviewed study of gas pipeline leaks:


    Joke’s on you.


    1. John, From the looks of the comments from some one who said he wasn’t paying much attention to my posts, it sure looks like I am getting under your skin again. I like a good joke, LOL.

  19. Charles Kelly,

    Interesting that you make stuff up and pretend it’s true.

    While you might as well like a good joke, since you’re the butt of
    several you made yourself lately without you even knowing it,
    to be a useful straight man, you need to try harder than that last comment.


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