Tag Archives: coal

Video: Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest on Steve Nichols Radio 2020-06-23

On the Steve Nichols radio show we talked about how song submissions are open until July 8, 2020, for the Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest. We also talked about fishing, bacterial contamination and mercury in the rivers, coal plants, solar power, and upcoming WWALS outings on Banks Lake and the Suwannee River.

[Flyer]
Flyer

Tickets to listen to the finalists play 7-9PM Saturday, August, 22, 2020, at the Turner Center Art Park in Valdosta, GA, are $10 online (children under 12 free) or $12 at the door. For VIP tables send email to song@suwanneeriverkeeper.org.

The Steve Nichols show was the first to reveal the judges are selected. Continue reading

FPL and JEA exiting Plant Scherer Unit 4 near Macon, GA 2020-06-26

The biggest, dirtiest, coal plant in the country is losing the owners of one of its four units: Plant Scherer, near Juliette, Georgia, north of Macon. Florida Power & Light (FPL) and the Jacksonville Electric Authority (JEA), are bailing out of their 76.4% and 23.6% shares of unit 4, by January 2022. Somebody else may buy into unit 4, and thus Georgia Power may keep it running. But maybe not, considering the reason for FPL and JEA exiting is that the plant is no longer economical to run. Meanwhile, where will the coal ash go?

At least maybe soon less mercury will go into the air and come down in the Withlacoochee and Alapaha Rivers and the Okefenokee Swamp.

JEA: Plant Scherer
Photo: JEA. Plant Scherer, located near Macon, Georgia, is operated by the Georgia Power Company. Unit 4, one of the four steam units located at the site, is partially owned by JEA. Unit 4 uses coal to produce JEA’s 200 MW portion of electricity output, which is delivered to Jacksonville over large, high-voltage electric transmission lines.

This move was signaled in FPL’s Ten Year Power Plant Site Plan 2020 – 2029, Submitted To: Florida Public Service Commission, April 2020:

(i) Retirement of Existing Generating Units That Are No Longer Economic to Operate:

…the retirement of FPL’s ownership portion (approximately 76%) of the coal-fueled Scherer Unit 4 unit in Georgia is planned by January 2022. FPL’s ownership portion of this unit is approximately 630 MW.

The news is not all good. Brendan Rivers, wjct, 26 June 2020, JEA Approves Plan To Close Unit At Plant Scherer, 1 Of Nation’s Biggest Carbon Emitters,

The transaction approved by the board includes JEA entering into a Continue reading

Last proposed U.S. coal plant ended 2020-04-15

Eight years after its twin in Ben Hill County got cancelled, another one also proposed by Power4Georgians is ended.

This was the last coal plant proposed in the U.S. Good riddance. On with solar power!

Plant Washington sign
Photo: Ray Henry, AP, in Georgia developer still trying to build coal plant, 2014-11-16.

And if GA-EPD can say time’s up, the Army Corps can say it for Twin Pines Minerals’ proposed titanium mine near the Okefenokee Swamp, and FERC can do that for Sabal Trail’s Phase II. Remember, only a decade ago Big Coal seemed invincible. Next to fall: “natural” gas.

Nedra Rhone, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 15 April 2020, State EPD closes book on proposed coal plant in Middle Georgia,

In a March 6 letter addressed to Power4Georgians — most recently headed by former Georgia Board of Regents member Dean Alford — the state Environmental Protection Division denied an April 2016 request to extend the plant’s construction permit. The project had been dormant for several years, and the letter represents the paperwork to officially close the file, said Kevin Chambers, spokesman for the EPD. The permit revocation is final, and a new permit application would be required for any future project, he said.

“I am thankful for the EPD’s decision so we can move on from this outdated and unnecessary project,” said Katherine Cummings, a member of the Washington County-based Fall-line Alliance for a Clean Environment (FACE) and a longtime critic of the 12-year-old project. “Plant Washington posed a threat to family budgets, community health, and natural resources in and beyond Middle Georgia. It’s certainly a moment of closure and relief that this polluting giant will never be built.”

The bottom line: Continue reading

Georgia Power proposes connection fee hike

Georgia Power is back with a proposed mandatory connection fee hike for everyone! This is after they tried a couple years ago to get a mandatory solar power connection fee, but Sierra Club fought that off with town halls around the state.

Bryan Jacob, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, 29 August 2019, Georgia Power Wants You to Pay More For Using Less Energy,

fee hike graphic

In June, Georgia Power submitted a proposal to charge its customers for an additional $2.2 billion. A very troubling part of Georgia Power’s proposal: they propose to nearly double the mandatory monthly fee (which is hidden on most bills), from the current $10/month to $17.95/month for residential customers.

Customers must pay this fee no matter how much or how little energy is actually used, paying at least Continue reading

WCTV on mining proposed near Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge 2019-08-21

“Because of the coal plants in Georgia, there’s mercury deposition on the surface of the ground for years. If they go stir all that up, that could run in to the swamp,” said Suwannee Riverkeeper John Quarterman. “Why should we risk the Okefenokee, its boating, its fishing, its birding.”

Quoted by a reporter based in Valdosta, GA for WCTV in Tallahassee, FL, Emma Wheeler, WCTV, 21 August 2019, Heavy mining facility proposed near Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge,

[Sign]
Photo: John S. Quarterman, Okefenokee NWR Entrance Sign, 2019-07-18

…Last week the Charlton County Board of Commissioners passed a resolution of support for the project. County officials said the reason is because Charlton County does not have many industry opportunities of its own, and many residents leave to surrounding counties for work. officials said the 150 jobs created from the project could be beneficial to the county.

The Okefenokee Swamp is the headwater for the Suwannee River, which is why community members across the region are fighting the proposal, saying it could have consequences in both states.

In the proposal, the Continue reading

Fracking is causing global rise in methane pollution

So bad even the fossil fuel industry press is reporting it: Nick Cunningham, OilPrice.com, 18 August 2019, Shale’s Dark Side: Methane Emissions Are Soaring,

Figure 1: methane emissions rising since 2008, and it's fracking
Figure 1 from the study: Methane emissions are rapidly rising since 2008, and carbon 13 signatures show it’s not cows, it’s not swamps, it’s not coal, which is crashing: it’s fracking.

A new study finds that shale oil and gas is behind the global rise in methane pollution over the past decade, a major source of greenhouse gas emissions.

The study, published in Biogeosciences, was able to separate methane emissions from conventional versus unconventional drilling, as well as methane from other “biogenic” sources, such as agriculture or wetlands. “This recent increase in methane is massive,” Robert W. Howarth of Cornell University, the author of the study, said in a statement. “It’s globally significant. It’s contributed to some of the increase in global warming we’ve seen and shale gas is a major player.”

Methane emissions rose Continue reading

Georgia PSC again increases solar power by Georgia Power 2019-07-16

The PSC required more than Georgia Power and Southern Company requested, although they still do not seem to understand that solar power is growing exponentially like compound interest.

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See Stephen Fowler, GPB, July 16, 2019, Public Service Commission Adds More Solar To Georgia Power’s Energy Plan.

In 2013 Georgia only had some nominal solar energy online, less than 300 megawatts. In the 2013 IRP, the Commission added 525 megawatts of solar energy. Three years later, in the 2016 IRP, another 1,600 megawatts were added. By the end of 2019, Georgia should have a total of 2,400 megawatts of solar and other renewable energy on the grid. The 2,210 megawatts approved Tuesday will nearly double Georgia’s level of renewable energy by the end of 2022.

Doubling every two years is merely not falling farther behind. And what about after 2022? What’s the plan for more than doubling again by 2024, etc.? WWALS asked for Continue reading

Renewable solar and wind power now, not coal, gas, or nuclear –WWALS to GA PSC 2019-06-10

Drawing from eight years of speaking at Southern Company Stockholder meetings, and from that Homerville, Georgia explosion that destroyed Coffee Corner and sent three women to the hospital with third-degree burns, here’s a summary of the comments we filed with the Georgia Public Service Commission today. If you can’t go to the GA-PSC hearings tomorrow and the next day about the Georgia Power Integrated Resource Plan, you can also send a comment letter asking the PSC to stop Georgia Power locking in fossil fuels and make them get on with sun and wind pwoer on a smart grid.

[AGL fines, more solar, coal ash disposal, and mercury]

  1. Yes, fine AGL more than $2 million for that Homerville, GA explosion.
  2. Require Georgia power to buy 12 gigawatts (GW) of solar power, not 1 GW.
  3. Make Georgia Power pay to dispose of the coal ash it produced, properly on its own property.
  4. How about make the companies that put mercury in the air to come down in our rivers pay for the costs to recreational fishing.
  5. Stop throwing money down the Plant Vogtle nuclear hole.
  6. Demand Georgia Power get on with wind power.

This about sums it up: Continue reading

FDEP summoned to Baker County about EZBase coal ash byproduct 2019-04-16

JEA “specifically declined the invitation” by the Baker BOCC to come talk about EZBase, a road pavement material made from coal ash, and spread on roads and parking lots in Baker County, Florida. FDEP accepted an invitation and will present this Tuesday. The Baker (FL) BOCC and Mark Lyon invite everyone to that meeting.

When: Meeting starts 5PM, FDEP presentation about 6PM,
Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Where: Baker County Courthouse, 339 E Macclenny Ave # 113, Macclenny, FL 32063

Event: facebook, meetup

Photo: Michael Rivera, of Baker County, Florida, Courthouse. CC Attribution, Share Alike
Photo: Michael Rivera, of Baker County, Florida, Courthouse. CCAttributionShare Alike

Most of Baker County, including its county seat Macclenny, is in the St Marys River watershed. However, south along FL 121 before the Union County line on the way to Fort Butler, part of Baker County is in the Suwannee River Basin, and we don’t know whether EZBase may have been spread on roads there.

Plus JEA shipped coal ash from Jacksonville to the Veolia Pecan Row landfill in Lowndes County, Georgia, which is in the Suwannee River Basin, a quarter mile uphill from the Withlacoochee River and in a Floridan Aquifer recharge zone.

While environmentalists everywhere are celebrating North Carolina DEQ’s Order for Duke Energy to Excavate Coal Ash at Six Remaining Sites, let’s remember the decision for each of those six sites was “Movement of coal ash to a new or existing lined landfill”. We don’t want Duke or JEA or other coal ash in our landfills or “recycled” as EZBase and spread on roads. The utilities that created the coal ash should have to bear the expense of disposing of it safely on their own land.

JEA also owns Continue reading

Urge your Georgia state legislators to stop coal ash pollution: HB 93, 94 and SB 123

Crossover day is this Thursday, by which bills have to pass one part of the Georgia legislature to be considered in the other. Please contact your state legislators today to stop coal ash pollution!

Coal ash from the infamous Kingston, Tennessee coal ash pond dam break in 2008 was shipped to at least five landfills in south Georgia, including the old landfill in Lowndes County, which is in an aquifer recharge zone and a quarter mile uphill from the Withlacoochee River. That landfill also has coal ash from Jacksonville, Florida. We don’t need any more coal ash in any landfills in Georgia. The power companies that produced it need to store it safely on their own land.

TVA aerial image of Kingston Ash Slide 2008-12-23
TVA aerial image of Kingston Ash Slide 2008-12-23.

Please call your Georgia state legislators today, to support: