– July 6, 2022 –

LNG at Elba Island: What’s the real risk?

Chatham County hosts one of America’s seven export terminals in for liquefied natural gas, the same fuel, or fossil gas, that burns in your gas stove. It’s mostly methane, supercooled to make it a liquid that’s easier to transport. (One of the LNG tankers is even named the Methane Princess). While the LNG industry’s safety record is historically good, an explosion and fire at a Texas export facility last month got The Current‘s Dow Jones News Fund data journalism intern Nick Sullivan interested in digging into whether something similar could happen here.

He found that some safety experts are concerned the hazard modeling for LNG export facilities might not be keeping up with all the ways the industry is changing. The bottom line from Savannah-based hazards analyst Chuck Watson: “The risk is not as bad as you’ll hear from a lot of environmentalists and environmental groups, but it’s not nearly as low as you’ll hear from the industry.”

Southern LNG Company, L.L.C
Kinder Morgan’s Elba Island LNG facility sits on the banks of the Savannah River. Credit: Jeffery M. Glover/ The Current

Join us for Last of the Right Whales

Coastal residents have a special affinity for North Atlantic right whales, which give birth off the Georgia coast each winter then return to their feeding grounds off New England and Canada. Researchers documented 15 babies in the calving season that ended in April.

If you crave more information on these highly endangered animals, come watch a new documentary, Last of the Right Whales. The film follows the migration of these behemoths and tells the story of the people committed to saving a species still struggling to recover from centuries of hunting while facing new man-made threats.

The award-winning film will be shown at 6:30 p.m. July 12 at the Lucas Theatre in Savannah. Tickets are $10 for adults, no charge for children. This coastal tour event is presented by the Tybee Island Marine Science Center, IFAW and HitPlay Productions. After the film, The Current’s environmental reporter Mary Landers will moderate a Q&A with whale experts, including some featured in the film.

BEACH ADVISORIES: As of this writing, there are no new beach water bacteria advisories. Permanent advisories are in place for three beaches in the Coastal Health District. They are:Clam Creek Beach and St. Andrews Beach on Jekyll Island; and King’s Ferry County Park on the Ogeechee River at the Chatham/Bryan County line.
Before you head to the beach, check the link to see current notices.
Trail’s end at the beach on Blackbeard Island National Wildlife Refuge. Credit: Dan Chapman/FWS

SCOTUS scuttles EPA authority

The big news out of Washington Friday was the Supreme Court’s 6-3 decision limiting the EPA’s authority to regulate carbon dioxide emissions.

In response, Environment Georgia Director Jennette Gayer said, “The Supreme Court just made the monumental task of cleaning up our air and reducing climate-warming pollution much, much harder.” But Georgia Attorney General Chris saw the ruling as a win. “This attempted federal power grab would’ve killed jobs & raised electricity prices, & we’re proud to have joined WV in this fight,” he tweeted, referencing the fact that Georgia was among the states that joined the original plaintiff.

The actual effects of the ruling likely differ by state. Law Professor Patrick Parenteau explains the decision and what it might mean for other regulators in this piece from The Conversation.

Stanley Dunlap of the Georgia Recorder reports that for Georgia the situation is partially moot. Georgia Power’s coal-fired power plants are already on their way out, and aren’t likely to make a comeback.

Credit: Matthias Heyde via Unsplash

If you have feedback, questions, concerns, or just like what you see, let us know at thecurrentga@gmail.com.

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Regulations governing LNG export facilities including Chatham County’s Elba Island could have dangerous errors, experts warn.

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Supreme Court limits EPA’s power to regulate carbon pollution

In a highly anticipated but not unexpected 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court ruled on June 30, 2022, that the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan exceeded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s authority under the Clean Air Act. This story also appeared in The Conversation The ruling doesn’t take away the EPA’s power to regulate […]

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Georgia’s coal-fired plant closings likely to go on despite Supreme Court EPA ruling

Environmental‌ ‌groups are calling on the U.S. Congress to take action after a U.S. Supreme Court limiting the ability to enforce carbon emission pollution dealt a blow in the fight against climate change. This story also appeared in Georgia Recorder The West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency opinion was a victory for Georgia […]

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Mary Landers is a reporter for The Current in Coastal Georgia with more than two decades of experience focusing on the environment. Contact her at mary.landers@thecurrentga.org She covered climate and...