Tag Archives: Michael Noll

Phase II of Moody Family Housing already has a sinkhole –Tom Kurrie @ LCC 2013-08-13

Tom Kurrie said Phase I has a structural issue and Phase II of the proposed Moody Housing has a sinkhole, at the 13 August 2013 Lowndes County Commission Regular Session.

Existing Sinkhole in Phase II of REZ-2013-09 Tom Kurrie spoke for the rezoning for Phase I, REZ-2013-09, first giving something unknown to the County Clerk, and then saying:

Bill Holland and I are the applicants, we represent the owner of the property, the Howard Dasher Company, as well as the developers of the property, Balfour Beatty Communities.

The ubiquitous Bill Holland had spoken the previous morning in the Work Session.

Tom Kurrie

This time, Kurrie said the project had been in the makings for over two years. (Funny how the county didn’t tell us about it until they were ready to rush it through.) He said it was for “prestige housing” for base personnel. He said it was unusual in being 8 miles west of Moody AFB. He introduced Ron Nestor, Senior Vice President of Balfour Beatty, and said it was a public-private partnership. And use would be restricted to Air Force personnel. We’d already heard about such restrictions at the Planning Commission. He said it would be a “gated community”. We’ll see if that actually happens this time, unlike at Nelson Hill just up Val Del Road; you can see both locations on this map:

Kurrie also mentioned professor Noll and geotechnical issues such as sinkholes, Continue reading

Sinkholes at proposed Moody Family Housing? –Jason Davenport @ LCC 2013-08-13

County Planner Jason Davenport said he had heard concerns there could be sinkholes under the proposed new military housing on Val Del Road, but he recommended approval anyway, at the 13 August 2013 Lowndes County Commission Regular Session.

6.a. REZ-2013-09 Moody Housing, Val Del Rd R-1 to Residential PD, LC Water & Sewer, ~64 acres

See Work Session video for context. This time, County Planner Jason Davenport said “we have an updated copy on the screen” of the site plan. He mentioned:

…there has been some communications between the applicant’s agents and really professor Noll and possibly some other colleagues at VSU about some of the geotechnical aspects of this site plan I believe they might speak on the soils and possibly the karst features in this area or the sinkholes or potential for that.

Pictured here is the older site plan, because County Clerk still hadn’t responded to Gretchen’s Open Records Request of the previous morning. State law says the county can take three days to respond, which is great for developers, but not so good for the public.

Here’s the video:

Continue reading

Return of water misinformation by Forrest H. Williams in the VDT

Seen today on the WACE facebook page is an image of an op-ed in the VDT, and alongside it I include here Michael Noll’s initial comments, plus a few links.

There is good reason why Stephen Hawkins once said “the greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.” When entities like Fox News can claim that “solar won’t work in America because it’s not as sunny as Germany”, we shouldn’t be surprised by the results of such “educational” efforts. The fact is that we have a number of clean and renewable forms of energy (e.g. wind, solar, geothermal) that already work. Just go to Spain, Germany, Denmark, Iceland, or simply stay in the US and visit places like from New Jersey and New York to California and Arizona. Combine these pieces of a larger energy puzzle with meaningful initiatives of energy conservation and energy efficiency, and we find a way out of our current predicament (i.e. continuing dependence on finite and dirty sources of energy), while saving money (see solar vs. nuclear), preserving our natural resources (e.g. water, forests), and providing clean, healthy and safe environments to live in (e.g. wind and solar do not produce radioactive waste, pollute our air and groundwater).

The guest columnist appearing above is the same individual who thought

Continue reading

Solar: Pieces of a Puzzle —Dr. Michael G. Noll

Op-ed in the VDT today, responding to a response to my op-ed. -jsq

If the attempt of a guest column from Jan 13 was to shine light on solar power, it left everyone in the dark. Neither mockery nor close mindedness will assist us in finding real answers if we want to solve the energy puzzle of the 21st century.

In July 2012, the Financial Times interviewed Jeffrey Immelt, CEO of GE. GE knows perhaps more about the world of energy business than any other company. Immelt stated that

“on a cost basis it is impossible to justfy investing in nuclar power for the future.”

People who sitll claim that solar is more expensive than nuclear are not paying attention. If solar is viable as far north as New Jersey, it certainly is in Georgia. If countries like Germany can excel in solar energy production, so can we. Companies like Walmart, Costco, Apple, and Google are havily investing in solar because it works.

It should also be noted that the nuclear plant on Crystal River has been idle since 2009. As the Tampa Bay Times reported last December,

Continue reading

It is time to finally put the pieces of a larger energy puzzle together —Michael Noll

Seen today on the WACE facebook page: an online comment the VDT declined to let appear. It was on Natural gas use expanding; station planned for Valdosta by Kay Harris, VDT, 22 July 2012. -jsq

There are some major problems with this article, but let’s first begin with the points one can agree with:

Mr. Putnam is correct when he says that natural gas is a much cleaner source of energy than coal and oil. It is also true that natural gas is a “bridge fuel” which can buy us time to develop new technologies. However, here are the points that are missing (or were glanced over) simply because we are, again, looking for a quick fix to our dependence on foreign oil, while doing little to address issues that really matter:

  1. Neither Mr. Putnam nor the VDT seem to fully understand or recognize the environmental damage fracking does. This new technology is not only responsible for our nation’s current natural gas surplus, but also comes at an enormous price to both people and the environment.
  2. Time and again we are talking about the need to become independent of foreign oil, yet little attention is paid to the need to conserve. Instead we continue to ‘live it up” and consume more energy per capita than any other western nation. If you are addicted to a “drug” (as in an overly consumptive lifestyle) hopping from marijuana to heroin won’t help your general problem.

It is time to finally put the pieces of a larger energy puzzle together because at the end of the day natural gas, too, is a finite source. But how will we ever get there when a) entities like Southern Company (i.e. Georgia Power) refuse to embrace truly clean sources of energy production like solar and wind, when b) people like Mr. Putnam and papers like the VDT only present a one-sided view of an important and complex issue, and when c) we, the consumers, refuse to accept our responsibilities in this whole mess as if we had a God given right to be wasteful?

-Michael Noll

I only got the answering machine —Michael G. Noll

Received today on Industrial Authority held unannounced meeting last night. -jsq
Unfortunately I missed this meeting as well, and not by choice.

I vaguely remembered that Roy Copeland mentioned after the October meeting that the December date might be changed to December 6. Thus, I called Tuesday shortly after 5pm to verify if a meeting was indeed scheduled. I only got the answering machine (indicating to me that the office was closed) and the IA website (as so often) was no help.

Thus I, too, was assuming the meeting would be later this month … only to find out the next day in the VDT that there had been a meeting after all.

Our community has gone through so much these past couple of months, highlighting more than ever the need to communicate and cooperate. I was hoping after all this that we could finally start working together, despite any differences we might have. That would, however, not only require a certain amount of transparency but also communication of such simple matters as meeting agendas and calendars. How difficult can that be?

Communication is, and always will be, the key to success. Whether this is about your children’s education, such matters as energy efficiency and energy conservation, or a Strategic Planning Process which can only benefit the community … if that very community (not just the same old status quo) is actually included in the process.

Michael G. Noll, President
Wiregrass Activists for Clean Energy (WACE)

Solar is coming —Michael Noll

Received yesterday on Solar tipping point within a few years. -jsq
In line with comments made by Steven Chu:

Solar cheaper than fossil fuels in a decade, says Steven Chu, by Christopher Mims, 3 November 2011.

Solar power will be cheaper than fossil fuels at some point between the end of this decade and 2026*, said U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu

as well as a recent Op-Ed piece by Paul Krugman:

Here Comes Solar by Paul Krugman, 6 November 2011.

…progress in solar panels has been so dramatic and sustained that, as a blog post at Scientific American put it, “there’s now frequent talk of a ‘Moore’s law’ in solar energy,” with prices adjusted for inflation falling around 7 percent a year.

This has already led to rapid growth in solar installations, but even more change may be just around the corner. If the downward trend continues — and if anything it seems to be accelerating — we’re just a few years from the point at which electricity from solar panels becomes cheaper than electricity generated by burning coal.

And if we priced coal-fired power right, taking into account the huge health and other costs it imposes, it’s likely that we would already have passed that tipping point.

-Michael Noll

I added the blockquotes and the Moore’s Law link. Seems to me physicist Sec. Chu must be looking only at the sticker price, while economist Krugman is also looking at other costs and at externalities not currently included in the sticker price, yet still costing us in other ways. Add in the costs of wars for oil and I wonder how long ago solar already became cheaper than oil….


After the VLCIA meeting: brain storming sessions —Dr. Noll

Dr. Noll sent this postscript to What can we do as a community to better cooperate? -jsq
I was approached after the meeting and informed that the Industrial Authority intends to invite communal leaders like myself to brain storming sessions in the future, although I do not know yet the design for such a forum, nor have I received any invitations as of today. Still, if there is one thing that has again become clear in the context of the consolidation issue, our community desperately needs structures that a) allow for more transparency and b) forums in which we can take advantage of the creative energy that exist in our community, INSTEAD of trying to shut people out, to hide information from them, or to push through divisive agendas.

It is my hope that the leaders of the Industrial Authority, as well as the City Council, the Lowndes County Commission, and the Chamber of Commerce for that matter, understand the opportunity we have: to turn a weakness (as exposed by the way we handled biomass, and are currently handling the consolidation issue) into a strength … via communication and cooperation … as is appropriate for a true community.


What can we do as a community to better cooperate? —Dr. Noll

Update 3:45 PM 3 November 2011: Better transcript and pictures. See also what happened after the meeting.
Dr. Michael Noll, longtime opponent of the Industrial Authority’s formerly proposed biomass plant, asked that same board at their most recent meeting:
What can we do as a community to better cooperate, to better communicate?
He also referred to the school consolidation issue and to the nuclear vs. renewable energy issue among the reasons he gave, along with some suggestions on how to proceed, and said he would take the same message to other bodies.

Here’s the video, and a transcript is appended.

What can we do as a community to better cooperate? –Dr. Noll
Regular Meeting, Valdosta-Lowndes County Industrial Authority (VLCIA),
Norman Bennett, Tom Call, Roy Copeland chairman, Mary Gooding, Jerry Jennett,
Andrea Schruijer Executive Director, J. Stephen Gupton attorney, Allan Ricketts Project Manager,
Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, 18 October 2011.
Videos by John S. Quarterman for LAKE, the Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange.

Dr. Noll sent an edited transcript removing some of the repetition to clarify what he was trying to say: Continue reading

He is in the business of selling energy, not saving it. —Michael G. Noll

Received yesterday on Georgia Power forges ahead with expensive nukes. -jsq
Thanks for posting this John!

Mr. Bowers’ visit and his comments are almost comical, particularly his quote that “the government is stimulating for renewables to give them a running chance but, when you remove them, the question is can they run on their own two feet?”

A good question! Fact is that neither coal nor nuclear would be able to “run on their two own feet” if it wasn’t for the large subsidies both have received for decades. Now these are nicely hidden subsidies so that the average consumer thinks he is getting a bargain, without realizing that it is us, the consumers, who have actually paid for this “inexpensive rate”.

At the same time truly renewable and clean energies

Continue reading