DNR board unanimously gave away river crossings to Sabal Trail for the Withlacoochee, Ochlockonee, Flint, and Chattahoochee Rivers. But the legislature would also have to approve, and the AJC just turned this obscure board meeting into an earned media event for pipeline opponents.
VALDOSTA: Professor Don Thieme, Valdosta State University, checks the water color and clarity in a sinkhole called Shadrick’s Pond by the Withlacoochee River. The sinkhole is near the site of a proposed pipeline that would cross the Withlacoochee River. Curtis Compton / email@example.com
Dan Chapman, AJC, 23 September 2015, South Georgia pipeline moves forward,
The proposed Sabal Trail natural gas pipeline cleared another regulatory hurdle Wednesday with state approval for the pipeline to pass under five Southwest Georgia rivers and creeks.
The unanimous vote by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ board doesn’t sanction the pipeline to run 157 miles across Georgia while crossing the Chattahoochee, Flint, Withlacoochee and Ochlocknee rivers. Additional state and federal reviews, and votes, are necessary before digging begins.
Pipeline opponents, though, hoped that the board would slow Sabal Trail’s seemingly inexorable push to deliver gas to Florida. They cited ongoing safety, environmental and property rights concerns held by thousands of Southwest Georgia residents.
Those opponents included S. Gordon Rogers, Flint Riverkeeper, Albany, John S. Quarterman, President, WWALS Watershed Coalition, Inc., Valdosta, and Mark Woodall, Vice Chair, Sierra Club Georgia Chapter, Woodland.
Spectra Energy, the pipeline builder, received preliminary environmental approval earlier this month from Washington. Gus McLachlan, a Spectra official, told board members that the pipeline would be buried at least 32 feet below any stream.
And how is that different from Spectra’s pipeline that blew up in May under the Arkansas River in Little Rock?
The story calls this the “lesser known, at least in Metro Atlanta, of the two major pipeline projects proposed for Georgia”. Well, now it’s more known!
The story notes Kinder Morgan’s Palmetto petroleum products pipeline was denied a permit by GDOT. Yay Push Back the Pipeline! Naturally, KMI appealed, and a court hearing is scheduled for November in Fulton County.
And the story alludes to other possibilities to stop Sabal Trail. Here’s a longer list.
You can help WWALS stop FL-DEP from issuing a permit to Sabal Trail to drill under the Suwannee River and through the most vulnerable part of the Floridan Aquifer in the Springs Heartland of Florida, by contributing to the IndieGoGo crowdfunding campaign or becoming a WWALS member.