On June 14, fracked gas from the Marcellus Shale began flowing through the Sabal Trail Pipeline despite a pending lawsuit Sierra Club had against the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Seems the agency had failed to conduct an environmental impact study to consider the climate impacts of the project.
WWALS members Harriet Heywood and Maxine Connor holding the Suwannee Riverkeeper banner, Dunnellon, Florida, 28 January 2017. Picture by John S. Quarterman for WWALS.
On Aug. 22, a federal appeals court denied the Southeast Market pipeline and Sabal Trail project approval, since FERC did not do the requisite climate study.
Turns out there are still a few principled science-minded individuals occupying federal appeals court benches in Washington after all, who don’t necessarily believe that FERC should be a rubber stamp for pipeline projects without considering the extent of climate disaster we can expect from burning 1 billion cubic feet of fracked gas per day into an unknown future date.
At the time of this writing, a gargantuan flood from Hurricane Harvey is bearing down on Texas and more strong hurricanes are expected from increased burning of fossil fuels. This was freshman year biology in the early 1980s, yet we have the fossil fuel industry running our state legislature.
Let’s not forget that Rick Scott and his FDEP could and should have demanded this study before the people of Florida and our spring country had been put in such a precarious position.
The partners on this project, Spectra Energy, Duke Energy, and now Enbridge along with their enablers in the national and state legislatures, were all petitioned to halt the project in the interest of preserving our aquifer, our tourist industry and in recognition that a solar revolution is on the horizon in our state and around the country if the crony capitalists would just get out of the way of the will of the people.
Photo: Mark Skogman on a Southwings flight piloted by Roy Zimmer of Southwings for WWALS, 7 February 2017. Central Ridge Elementary School, 185 W Citrus Springs Blvd, Citrus Springs, FL 34434, 28.9733900, -82.4379120
The recent judgement denies the application and puts the responsibility on FERC to complete the greenhouse gas impacts of the project, which is a huge undertaking.
In the meantime, Sabal Trail should stop the gas until the study and judgements have been completed — recent leaks of the toxin Mercaptan at the compressor site in Dunnellon notwithstanding. Holding your breath may be advisable.
-jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®
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