FL DEP to issue permit trusting Sabal Trail to prevent leaks into the Floridan Aquifer

Canada’s National Energy Board just ordered Spectra Energy to fix chronic corrosion and leak problems after numerous fines, as did U.S. PHMSA before, yet 300x194 Horizontal Directional Drilling, in Suwannee River crossing, by Sabal Trail Transmission, for WWALS.net, 10 July 2015 Florida’s DEP plans to trust Spectra to build the Sabal Trail pipeline on top of our Floridan Aquifer, drilling under the Suwannee and Santa Fe Rivers.

This in the Notice of Intent to Issue Sabal Trail Transmission of 10 July 2015 sounds good without that context:

  1. The authorized stormwater management systems within the geographic limits of the Suwannee River Water Management District shall be constructed in accordance with 5.9 Sensitive Karst Areas Design Criteria and Guidelines of that District’s Environmental Resource Permit Applicant’s Handbook Volume II. The systems shall be constructed to prevent direct discharge of untreated stormwater into the Floridan Aquifer System. Systems also must be constructed in a manner that avoids breaching an aquitard and such that construction excavation will not allow direct mixing of untreated water between surface waters and the Floridan Aquifer System. The systems shall also be constructed to prevent the formation of solution pipes or other types of karst features in any known sensitive karst area. Test borings located within the footprint of a proposed stormwater management pond must be plugged in a manner to prevent mixing of surface and ground waters. If during construction or operation of the stormwater management systems, a structural failure is observed that has the potential to cause the direct discharge of surface water into the Floridian Aquifer System, corrective actions designed or approved by a registered professional shall be taken as soon as practical to correct the failure. A report prepared by a registered professional must be provided as soon as practical to the District for review and approval that provides reasonable assurance that the breach will be permanently corrected.

But Spectra Energy is the same company Canada’s National Energy Board (NEB) fined $122,000 so far this year for “for committing almost 30 infractions at its Westcoast Energy processing plants in the last 15 months” in British Columbia. NEB a few days ago ordered Spectra to clean up ““management system failures” saying:

“The Board expects Westcoast to address safety concerns on a systemic basis, throughout all its gas processing plants and facilities.”…

“Based on recent violations described below, the Board is not confident safety concerns are being addressed in this manner.”

Here’s the actual NEB order, Westcoast Energy Inc. carrying on business as Spectra Energy Transmission (Westcoast) – Safety Order SG-W102-002-2015.

When this recent spate of NEB investigations began, a notice was filed 24 January 2014 with:

Mr. Gregory L. Ebel, President
Spectra Energy Transmission,
Fifth Avenue Place, East Tower,
Suite 2600, 425 — 1st St. SW,
Calgary, AB T2P 3L8.

Same person as the $134,500 fine and 21 December 2012 Final Order by the U.S. Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Agency (PHMSA) to:

Mr. Gregory L. Ebel
President and Chief Executive Officer
Spectra Energy Corporation
5400 Westheimer Court
Houston, TX 77056

That PHMSA Final Order and fine was for failure to follow either federal law or Spectra’s own company policies and procedures to prevent corrosion, leaks, and explosions.

That’s the same Mr. Gregory L. Ebel who is still President of Spectra Energy, Inc., the implementor of the proposed Sabal Trail fracked methane pipeline.

Spectra’s track record of negligence, leaks, and explosions goes back at least three decades, involving repeated incidents of corrosion, leaks, and explosions, some involving massive property damage and even fatalities.

Plus a then-record EPA fine of $15 million in 1989 for PCB spills at 89 pipeline sites, plus Pennsylvania fined Spectra $18.6 million in 1991 for some of the same PCB spills plus $200 million for cleanup.

300x388 Location map, in Suwannee River crossing, by Sabal Trail Transmission, for WWALS.net, 10 July 2015 Spectra Energy, with a long track record of corrosion, leaks, spills, and explosions in two countries, is the company FL DEP proposes to trust to bore through numerous wetlands and to drill under the Suwannee and Santa Fe Rivers in Florida, plus Florida’s other Withlacoochee (central) River. Sure, Sabal Trail moved off of WWALS’ Withlacoochee River (north) in Florida, but it still proposes to drill under our Withlacoochee in Georgia, and FL DEP to issuing a permit would assist Sabal Trail in its destructive and hazardous pipeline plan in Alabama, Georgia, and Florida.

The FL-DEP notice includes a method to file a petition for an administrative proceeding (hearing), which must be done within 14 days of publication of the notice. Publication it says means after:

The notice is required to be published one time, in the legal ad section in a newspaper or newspapers of general circulation in the areas affected.

Good thing you didn’t blink; you might have missed that the notice was published Thursday 16 July 2015 in the Jasper News, so the clock is ticking down 14 days to 30 July 2015.

Here are two good reasons to file a petition. Both the Suwannee and Santa Fe Rivers are designated by FL DEP as Outstanding Florida Waters. Which means DEP cannot permit any activity that will have adverse effects on ambient water quality. With Spectra’s track record, how could we not expect adverse impacts from Sabal Trail?

Also, in the Notice of Intent item “c”, Specific Proprietary Basis for Issuance states:

The Applicant has provided reasonable assurance that the activity:

(1)will clearly be in the public interest

(2)will maintain essentially natural conditions

(3)will not cause adverse impacts to fish and wildlife recourses or public recreation or navigation

(4)will not interfere with the riparian rights of adjacent property owners

Items 1,2,3 don’t match Spectra’s track record, and 4 seems unlikely.

Meanwhile, you can comment to FERC about Sabal Trail and Florida, plus the Albany, GA compressor station.

Remember to sign the Petition to Georgia Governor Nathan Deal: Oppose Sabal Trail like you oppose the Palmetto Pipeline.

Then ask your elected and appointed officials to act.

Here are more things local, state, and national elected officials can do.

Horizontal Directional Drilling

600x388 Horizontal Directional Drilling, in Suwannee River crossing, by Sabal Trail Transmission, for WWALS.net, 10 July 2015

Location map

600x776 Location map, in Suwannee River crossing, by Sabal Trail Transmission, for WWALS.net, 10 July 2015

Survey plat

600x776 Survey plat, in Suwannee River crossing, by Sabal Trail Transmission, for WWALS.net, 10 July 2015

Easement area

600x776 Easement area, in Suwannee River crossing, by Sabal Trail Transmission, for WWALS.net, 10 July 2015