We all won twice against invading pipelines this week in the Georgia legislature. A smashing 34-128 defeat of Spectra Energy’s invading Sabal “Sinkhole” Trail natural gas pipeline, by WWALS, Flint Riverkeeper, Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, Georgia Sierra Club, Georgia Water Coalition, SpectraBusters, and many others, wasn’t the only win for landowners, environmentalists, and the people in the Georgia legislature this week. Push Back the Pipeline‘s petroleum products moratorium passed the final legislative hurdle in the House and is on its way to Gov. Nathan Deal to sign. You know, if Deal had stood up for the people against Sabal Trail, too, its easements to drill under Georgia rivers including our Withlacoochee River and Okapilco Creek, would have been defeated in the State Land Commission of which he is chair before they ever got to the legislature. But we all won, and won again! Spectra, Kinder Morgan, and even ALEC lost this time.
Walter C. Jones, jacksonville.com, 23 March 2016, Bill to stall pipeline from Belton, S.C., to Jacksonville awaits Georgia governor’s signature: Georgia House adopted moratorium that would impose moratorium on licensing and permitting until July 2017,
ATLANTA | The House beat back an amendment to weaken a pipeline moratorium bill late Monday night and sent the measure to the governor for his signature.
By a vote of 116-48, House Bill 1036 passed to prohibit the state from issuing any permits or licenses until July, 2017, for the construction of a petroleum pipeline. It is aimed at Texas-based Kinder Morgan which has plans to build the $1-billion Palmetto Pipeline across East Georgia linking Belton, S.C., and Jacksonville, Fla., with a terminal in Savannah.
And look who tried to stop it: Don “Mr. ALEC” Parsons.
House Energy, Utilities & Telecommunications Chairman Don Parsons offered an amendment to allow the company to apply for needed environmental permits during the moratorium. It might have allowed the company to argue its application would be subject to existing law.
None of those permits are needed by the people of Georgia (or Florida, or South Carolina), just like the pipeline isn’t needed.
Parsons isn’t just an ALEC member, he received an ALEC scholarship of $7,639, according to Atlanta unfiltered. ALEC is the super-lobbying group American Legislative Exchange which has corporate representative vote alongside state legislators (who often attend using those “scholarships”) on draft bills that the legislators attempt to pass back at their statehouses. See Atlanta TV station exposes ALEC lobbyists in Savannah. Parsons is a member of the Task Force meeting the reporter tries to get into, before the reporter is ejected from the hotel he’s staying in.
Back to jacksonville.com:
“The reality is we have to have highways, bridges and pipelines and water lines. All kinds of things have to be done, so we have to be very careful with this,” said Parsons, R-Marietta.
No we don’t need any new pipelines now that solar power is doubling every two years and we know how to power everything on sun, wind, and water. Parsons’ attempt to lump dying 20th century pipeline land grabs in with things that might actually benefit the people is pathetic.
But this is even more rich:
He warned his colleagues against passing laws targeting individual circumstances or companies. He also said the state shouldn’t take an anti-business stance.
Georgia is now the fastest-growing U.S. solar market, in an industry that has more jobs than oil and gas extraction, but that’s no thanks to Parsons. The one time I met him, in 2011, he was paying lip service to solar while backing coal and claiming there was no way to tell if a Renewable Energy Portfolio was being met shortly after a presentation in the same conference about how North Carolina passed a law that requires power companies to provide the data. Back in 2009, Parsons voted for SB 31, the infamous super-CWIP (Construction Work in Progress) “Energy Rate Increases to Finance Nuclear Power Plant Construction” bill that lets Georgia Power crank up charges to ratepayers every year to keep funding its billions-over-budget and way-late dual-nuke boondoggle on the Savannah River. Parsons is the Chair of the House Energy, Utilities, a& Telecommunciations Committee that HB267 from reining in super-CWIP in 2013. Could that be related to his top campaign contributors being from the industries his committee supposedly regulates? And look who’s his top contributor now: AGL Resources, a pipeline company, one now owned by Georgia Power, which also weighs in farther down the list as Georgia Power Company State Employee PAC. As you might guess from the name of his committee, Parsons was also behind two bad telecommunications bills in 2013 (both fortunately failed), and other ALEC members were behind other corporate power grabs, including the charter school referendum and the multi-year contract referendum. One of ALEC’s main focuses remains attacking clean solar and wind energy on behalf of fossil fuel companies.
Expect Parsons to be for Sabal Trail easements, too. In 2015 he took $500 from Spectra Energy PAC, and “Friends of Don Parsons” collected $1,000 plus $500 from Spectra Energy PAC.
And let’s not forget that “Nathan Deal for Governor” took $3,700 + $6,300 = $10,000 from Spectra Energy PAC. Along with contributions from a bunch of other pipeline companies.
Keep an eye peeled: the pipeline companies aren’t going to like what just happened.