Go away, Sabal Trail:
NOW THEREFORE, be it resolved that the City of Valdosta supports the Lowndes County Board of Commissioners in their opposition to the construction of the Sabal Trail pipeline in any portion of Lowndes County. The City’s support includes concerns with fundamental property rights, the manner in which eminent domain might be utilized, and the lack of demonstrated benefit to the City and County. Furthermore, the City of Valdosta supports the Lowndes County Commission in their formal request to the Federal Energy Regulation Commission (FERC), and to State and Federal Legislators in the effort to have Lowndes County and the State of Georgia bypassed in the construction of the proposed pipeline.
Here is the text of the resolution. Here are videos of the discussion in the 9 December 2014 Work Session, the presentation and vote in the 11 December 2014 Regular Session, and what a few citizens said afterwards. See also Valdosta opposes Sabal, by Joe Adgie, Valdosta Daily Times, 12 December 2014.
5.c. Resolution – Sabal Trail
Video. Council Tim Carroll said Valdosta had added a clause about the Floridan Aquifer. Council Robert Yost said he didn’t think such a resolution was something the City of Valdosta should be doing, and he would not vote Thursday. No other Council members expressed any reservations. Council Sonny Vickers said he thought it was worth doing to show unity. Mayor John Gayle remarked, “We all live in Lowndes County.”
5.c. Resolution – Sabal Trail
Video. City Manager Larry Hanson said:
We discussed this Tuesday night, and I’m always proud the city’s always looked at itself as a community organization and a regional community and this is an issue that has been of interest and concern to some in our community. And so the city has drafted a resolution to basically support the position of Lowndes County, and there are some concerns and issues that have been expressed.
It also does add one that is unique to the city. And that is that the city will obviously have some concern about this proposed pipeline and its construction that might affect the Floridan Aquifer, which of course is the primary source of drinking water for Valdosta, Lowndes County, and all of south Georgia.
So the recommendation is just before you to adopt this resolution, really as a resolution to support the Lowndes County Board of Commissioners in their position.
WHEREAS, the City of Valdosta has concerns regarding any potential effect the proposed pipeline or its construction might have on the Floridan aquifer, the primary source of the drinking water supply for our City, County and the south Georgia area; and
Council Tim Carroll moved “to adopt this resolution and to also file it with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission”. I think Sonny Vickers seconded. Without further discussion, six voted for. Council Robert Yost abstained, as he had said Tuesday he would do, so the motion passed 6 to 1.
10. Citizens to be Heard – Michael Noll
Video. Dr. Michael G. Noll, president of Wiregrass Activists for Clean Energy (WACE), commended the police chief, congratulated the city on the smart energy award, and thanked the Council for the Sabal Trail resolution.
10. Citizens to be Heard – Tom Hochschild
Video. Tom Hochschild, Chairman of the Lowndes County Democratic Party (LCDP), noted the Lowndes County Democratic Committee had passed a resolution against the Sabal Trail pipeline and published it 3 March 2014. He commended the Council on passing their own resolution. He mentioned fracking, property rights, and dangers of the pipeline, and the possibilities of renewable energy use.
10. Citizens to be Heard – John Quarterman
Video. John S. Quarterman, president of WWALS Watershed Coalition (WWALS), working to conserve the Withlacoochee, Willacoochee, Alapaha, and Little River watersheds, thanked the council for the aquifer clause, since all our environment, agriculture, and industry depend on it, commended Tim Carroll for suggesting it and Larry Hanson for writing it, as well as commended Hanson and the city for the smart energy award. Plus thanking the many people and groups from Alabama to south Florida, from Athens to Eufaula, who had helped pass a long string of resolutions against Sabal Trail. People are watching what Valdosta does, for example in Thomas County, whose County Clerk has asked for copies of the Valdosta and Lowndes County resolutions. Valdosta has set an example:
Not in this city, not in this county, not in this state; let’s do solar instead.
Here’s a video playlist:
Valdosta Passes Resolution Against Sabal Trail Pipeline: not in this city, this county, or this state
Regular Session, Valdosta City Council (VCC),
Video by Gretchen Quarterman for Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange (LAKE),
Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, 11 December 2014.