Albany against Sabal Sinkhole Trail at GA-EPD air quality hearing

The people don’t want Sabal Trail, nor its compressor station. Nobody but Spectra’s paid person Andrea Grover spoke for Sabal Trail, and she only did it by email later, not at the hearing. Pretty good coverage in three local stories.

Carlton Fletcher, Albany Herald, 7 November 2015, Sabal Trail opponents voice concerns to EPD: State officials hold air-quality permitting hearing at Albany Tech,

“There’s a great deal of frustration here because the preponderance of evidence shows that this is a bad project,” [Gordon] Rogers said. “And while we (the [Flint] Riverkeeper) have colleagues trying to stop the pipeline, that’s never been our goal. We’re trying to get it out of the Dougherty County plain. I think FERC can still do that, even if they approve the project.

As Gordon knows, it’s always been SpectraBusters’ goal to stop Sabal Trail. Gordon continued:

“The EPA letter is reason enough for FERC to reconsider its position. We trust they’ll say this pipeline is a hazard to our water supply, the way the evidence indicates.”

Here’s that EPA letter to FERC of 20 October 2015.

Kenneth Cutts, representing Georgia 2nd District Congressman Sanford Bishop at the meeting, read part of a letter Bishop sent to FERC addressing “environmental justice” concerns pertaining to the African-American population in Dougherty County. The letter was co-signed by Congressmen John Lewis, Hank Johnson and David Scott.

Here’s that letter by the four Congressmen to FERC of 23 October 2015, which reads in part:

The statement in FERC’s DEIS that the compressor station would not be located in an environmental justice community is not correct.

Back to the Albany Herald Story:

Georgia House District 154 Rep. Winfred Dukes said before the meeting the pipeline project could have a “devastating impact” on Dougherty County’s agricultural-based economy.

“You’re talking about endangering our water supply,” Dukes said. “That would devastate our area’s crops, and agriculture is what drives Southwest Georgia. This project will not benefit Dougherty County in any way, and there’s no reason for it to come through Georgia or our county.”

He’s been telling FERC that at least since he wrote them a letter 14 November 2014. And now he has some news:

Dukes said he expects the state Legislature to take up the Sabal Trail issue when it convenes in January.

Steve Caley, the legal director of the Atlanta-based GreenLaw firm, said FERC erred in ruling in its Draft Impact Statement that the project did violate clean air standards but did not violate them by “too much.”

“The National Ambient Air Quality Standards establishes limits to ensure there is not too much pollution in a given area,” Caley said. “FERC’s ruling that ‘it’s not a violation if it doesn’t exceed by too much’ does not have the force of law behind it. Nowhere in the Clean Air Act does it say that you can exceed NAAQS standards as long as it’s not by a lot. It simply says you can’t exceed these standards, which this project would.

Theo Dorsey, WALB, 5 November 2015, Sabal Pipeline Trail hearing held with EPD in Albany,

“We’re looking at the clean air act standards and comparing what they proposed to make sure that’s going to comply with those clean air act standards,” said Eric Cornwell of the EPD. “What we are not commissioned to do is, we are not in charge of the safety regulations. That’s really handled by PHMSA, the Pipeline Hazardous Material Safety Administration.”

The proposed site is near Countryside mobile home park. The owner doesn’t want it.

“I have a huge concern for my residents and the pollution that can be put out from these compressor stations and the noise,” said Enon Winkler, owner of Countryside Mobile home park. “And I’m also concerned about my investments as well as their investments with the homes they own and my mobile home park.”

Not just air quality:

“Things that are in the gas pipeline that can pollute the ground water,” said Flint Riverkeeper Gordon Rogers. “And as you know, and everybody knows, groundwater in our area is our lifeblood inn terms of agriculture and the city of Albany and its residents.”

“They are going to result in the violation of the clean air act,” said Steve Caley of Green Law “And it’s going to be built in an area that is full of sink holes and sink hole potentials that can cause an explosion.”

Cornwell said that was beyond the scope of the air quality permit. But the public heard those concerns.

Tracey Smith, WFXL, 5 November 2015, Sabal Trail concerns go beyond air quality,

“They’ve not done their due diligence in finding another way around all this,” said land owner Robbie Barkley.

Barkley said while he is not happy about the pipeline coming through his property, he’s also not happy with how Spectra Energy has done business.

“Sabal trail is coming and has already purchased property for the compressor station yet they don’t even have approval yet,” said Barkley. “So I think they’re kind of putting the cart before the horse.”

You can still tell EPD what you think:

If you were unable to make it to the meeting, written concerns can be mailed to: Georgia EPD Air Protection Branch, Attn: Eric Cornwell. 4244 International Parkway, Suite 120. Atlanta, GA 30354.

The pipeline can’t be built without that air quality permit.

Don’t forget to comment to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which can also hold a public hearing if enough people demand it. EPA apparently can’t stop FERC, but the Corps can, by denying a water permit.

And the court of public opinion could still stop the Sinkhole Trail, because investors don’t like projects with public opposition.

-jsq

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