Spectra Energy and gas pipeline campaign contributions to GA Gov. Nathan Deal

Tied for number 3 and receiving $10,000 in 2014 Top Vendors/Recipients from Spectra Energy according to OpenSecrets.org: Governor Nathan Deal of Georgia, where Spectra wants to gouge a 100-foot right of way for its 36-inch fracked methane Sabal Trail pipeline. Actually, Nathan Deal’s campaign committee has accepted at least $21,300 from natural gas pipeline companies, including $15,000 from companies that build LNG export terminals (Sempra and AECOM) or that build pipelines to LNG export terminals (Spectra and AECOM). and $6,300 from an Alabama pipeline supply company (Consolidated Pipe & Supply Company).

Tied with Deal for third and also receiving $10,000 from Spectra:

  • Governor Robert J. Bentley of Alabama, where the Sabal Trail pipeline starts, connecting to Williams Transco’s Hillabee Expansion Project, which along with Sabal Trail and FSC forms the Southeast Market Expansion Project.

  • Governor Bill Haslam of Tennessee, where Spectra wants to start its same-size Renaissance Pipeline to run through northeast Alabama and north Georgia past Atlanta.

Let’s look at candidate Nathan Deal’s most recent Georgia campaign contribution disclosure report contributions, for June 30th 2014:

Contributor’s Name PAC Affiliation /
Occupation / Employer
Received /
Spectra Energy Corporation PAC
5400 Westheimer Court

Houston, TX 77056-5353

$0.00 $3,700.00
Spectra Energy Corporation PAC
5400 Westheimer Court

Houston, TX 77056-5353

$0.00 $6,300.00
Sempra Energy
101 Ash Street

San Diego, CA 92101-3017

$0.00 $2,000.00

There’s that $10,000 from Spectra, in two lumps.

But what’s Sempra Energy? According to Bloomberg BusinessWeek:

Sempra Energy, an energy-services holding company, develops energy infrastructure, operates utilities, and provides related services. The company’s San Diego Gas & Electric Company segment generates, transmits, and distributes electricity; and distributes, transmits, and stores natural gas….

Its Sempra Mexico segment develops, owns, operates, and holds interests in natural gas transmission pipelines, and propane and ethane systems; a natural gas distribution utility; electric generation facilities; a terminal for the import of liquefied natural gas (LNG); marketing operations for the purchase of LNG; and the purchase and sale of natural gas in Mexico….

That’s EnergĂ­a Costa Azul near Ensenada, Baja California.

Its Sempra Natural Gas segment develops, owns, operates, and holds interests in a natural gas-fired electric generation asset; natural gas pipelines and storage facilities; natural gas distribution utilities; and a terminal for the import and export of LNG, and sale of natural gas in the United States.

Brian Wingfield wrote for Bloomberg 19 June 2014, Sempra Wins Final U.S. FERC Approval for LNG Export Plant,

Sempra Energy (SRE) won final U.S. approval to build an export terminal for liquefied natural gas, becoming the second such facility to win government approval.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission voted unanimously today to let Sempra’s Cameron LNG project in Louisiana move forward. The company said it plans to start building the estimated $9 billion to $10 billion terminal later this year.

There’s more:

Environmental Conditions

The FERC environmental staff concluded in April that Cameron won’t cause major environmental damage, and recommended steps to minimize “some adverse environmental impact” in western Louisiana. The FERC today approved more than 75 conditions on the project to reduce potential environmental harm, according to a statement.

Landrieu and Senator Mark Udall, a Colorado Democrat, yesterday introduced legislation that would require the Energy Department to issue a final decision on an export license within 45 days after the U.S. environmental review of the facility is complete.

That’s The Natural Gas Export Promotion Act of 2014 which as S.2494 was introduced 18 June 2014 and was referred to the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources that same day. Udall serves on that committee, and Landrieu is its chair.

Mary Landrieu was #4 on Spectra’s OpenSecrets.org contribution list, getting $9,000, according to OpenSecrets.org. And according to OpenSecrets.org she was Sempra’s top recipient.

And according to Opensecrets.org, among her top contributors to her campaign committee 2009-2014 was #4, Sempra Energy, $38,501 total ($28,501 individuals + $10,000 PACs).

Still, what’s Sempra got to do with Spectra? Well, for one thing, Martha B. Wyrsch, Executive Vice President and General Counsel at Sempra:

Previously, Wyrsch served nearly 10 years at Duke Energy and its spin-off, Spectra Energy Corp. She joined Duke Energy in 1999 as senior vice president of legal affairs and deputy counsel and, later, was promoted to group vice president and general counsel. In 2005, Wyrsch moved to Duke Energy Gas Transmission as its president and CEO. Subsequently, she became president and CEO of Spectra Energy Transmission, overseeing its natural gas transmission and storage business in the U.S. and Canada, as well as its gathering, processing and distribution businesses in Canada.

Mark Udall, according to Opensecrets.org, doesn’t show Sempra or Spectra among his top campaign committee contributors 2009-2014, but he does show #4 NextEra Energy $54,400 ($44,400 individuals + $10,000 PACs).

And let’s look at OpenSecrets.org about NextEra’s campaign contributions. Mark Udall is only #3 among NextEra’s individual recipients, after #2 Mitch McConnell and #1 Mary L. Landrieu $37,250 ($30,250 individuals + $7,000 from orgs).

What’s NextEra got to do with Spectra? NextEra is FPL’s parent company and Spectra’s 50-50 partner in Sabal Trail Transmission, LLC, the shell company that wants to gouge that 100-foot right of way for a 36-inch fracked methane pipeline across Alabama, Georgia, and Florida, in a three-part pipeline project that ends up right where DoE’s Office of Fossil Energy (FE) has already authorized three LNG export operations.

There’s more in candidate Deal’s campaign contributions:

2101 Wilson Boulevard

Arlington, VA 22201-3086

$0.00 $3,000.00

AEcom did a lot of the work for the terminal expansion and pipeline for the Elba Island, GA LNG terminal, which KinderMorgan filed with FERC 21 March 2014 for LNG export. That’s FERC Docket PF13-3.

What’s AECom got to do with Sabal Trail, other than assisting with an LNG export terminal that could use existing pipelines to connect to Sabal Trail, or for that matter to Spectra’s Rennaisance Project?

Well, this, at least: CWRP In High Gear For 2013,

The New Year started off with a bang as members of the Coastal Wetlands Restoration Partnership (CWRP) Executive Committee met with Ralph Cantral, Coastal America Partnership’s (CAP) Acting Director. Cantral met with John Mackenzie, Director of the CWRP; Pat Hester of Spectra Energy; George Olson of Proctor and Gamble, Frank Sweet of AECOM; and Bill Hubbard, Director of the Coastal America Foundation on January 11 to discuss the future direction of their collaboration and set objectives for 2013 and beyond. The meeting was hosted by AECOM at their Boston office.

Everywhere else CWRP seems to be called the Corporate Wetlands Restoration Partnership, and CWRP’s own website:

Patrick Hester, CRWP Chair, pjhester@spectraenergy.com

Also, not surprisingly, according to OpenSecrets.org, AECOM US donated $2,500 to Mary Landrieu and $10,000 to Mark Udall.

So Deal’s campaign has accepted contributions from three companies that are involved in LNG exports:

One of those three, Sempra, was also a major contributor to campaigns of two Senators, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Mark Udall of Colorado, who brag about pushing a bill to speed LNG export authorizations.

I see nothing in OpenSecrets.org Georgia campaign finance records about NextEra contributing to Deal’s campaign; NextEra seems to focus its campaign contributions on Congress. But NextEra’s partner in Sabal Trail, Spectra Energy, did contribute to Nathan Deal’s re-election campaign committee.

And from the same general industry, there’s this one:

Consolidated Pipe & Supply Company, INC
PO Box 2472

Birmingham, AL 35201-2472

$0.00 $6,300.00

According to Consolidated Pipe & Supply, Inc.’s their website:

Founded in 1960, it has provided materials and services to the energy, oil & gas, chemical, petro-chemical, mining, pulp & paper and construction industries for over 50 years.

Materials such as pipes for natural gas pipelines.

Plus $5,000 from Ernst & Young of Dallas, TX. Spectra’s current and immediate past Treasurers worked for Ernst & Young, according to Spectra. Could be coincidence, I suppose.

So those in Dougherty County who are asking Gov. Nathan Deal to help stop the Sabal Trail pipeline may have a tough row to hoe.

Meanwhile, candidate for Georgia Governor Jason Carter’s June 30th 2014 disclosure report contributions shows zero contributions from Spectra, Sempra, AECOM, or Consolidated Pipe & Supply Company. Also no contributions show to Jason Carter from NextEra or any company with “gas” or “pipe” in their name. He did receive $1,000 from an individual, Walker Bass who works for Ernst & Young of San Francisco, CA. So in Georgia one gubernatorial candidate received at least $21,300 from the natural gas pipeline industry, while the other received nothing.

So it’s not just Florida Governor Rick Scott who is somehow tied to Spectra and the “natural” gas industry. Alabama Governor Robert J. Bentley and Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam have also accepted campaign contributions from Spectra. And Georgia Governor Nathan Deal has accepted substantial campaign contributions from Spectra and the fracked methane pipeline industry.


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