Sabal Trail faces opposition in Florida and Georgia –Palm Beach Post

The evidence stacks up against the three-part pipeline, Sabal Trail, Florida Southeast Connection, and Hillabee Expansion Project, despite rote denials by FPL and Sabal Trail. And this article ties the WWALS petition against drilling under the Suwannee River with the Georgia opposition to a compressor station in Albany.

Susan Salisbury, Palm Beach Post, 31 August 2015, Gas pipeline slated to supply FPL’s plants faces opposition,

A proposed $3.5 billion natural gas pipeline is either essential to Florida’s energy future or a looming disaster that has the potential to damage the iconic Suwannee River and the state’s fragile limestone Floridan Aquifer on its way to Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast….

In recent months, concerns have been raised about the safety record of Spectra Energy, a Houston-based company in a joint venture Juno Beach-based NextEra Energy to develop the pipeline. NextEra is the parent company of Florida Power & Light Co.

On top of that, the Southern Natural Gas Co., owned by the energy company Kinder Morgan, says that Sabal Trail’s plan to crisscross its pipeline in 47 places is excessive and unnecessary.

“The significant number of crossings continues to raise concerns of safety risks during construction and during continued operations of both the Sabal Trail and Southern pipelines,” Southern Natural Gas Co.’s attorney Margaret Coffman said in a July 24 filing with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

The company is seeking a technical conference with FERC, said Kinder Morgan spokesman Richard Wheatley said last week.

There’s lots more in the article, including this part about WWALS:

On Aug. 7, the WWALS Watershed Coalition, a grassroots organization active in Georgia and northern Florida, filed a petition asking DEP for an administrative hearing about the permit it wants DEP to deny. The residents assert the project has the potential to damage the Withlacoochee and Suwannee rivers, lead to the formation of new sinkholes which could potentially result in pipeline failure and altered underground water flow.

DEP’s notice states that construction will impact more than 400 acres of wetlands and that restoring the wetlands could take from two to 50 years, but it found the project to be in the public interest.

“Why should we accept any risk when the pipeline is completely unnecessary?” said John Quarterman, the coalition’s president. It advocates for the conservation of the Withlacoochee, Willacoochee, Alapaha, Little and Upper Suwannee River watersheds in south Georgia and North Florida.

“A few years ago FPL said it would need 17 percent more energy, then brought it down to 13 percent. A little bit of energy efficiency and conservation would make it unnecessary to add any power,” Quarterman said.

The article includes an FPL spokesperson not even trying to refute that; just repeating the old FPL canard that natural gas is the only way. Meanwhile, a solar financing bill has already been filed in the Florida legislature, much like the one that passed in Georgia this year, and Georgia is now the fastest growing U.S. solar market. Does Florida get less sun than Georgia?

About the proposed Albany, Georgia compressor station and its noise and risk of leaks and explosion, the article has a response from Spectra’s Andrea Grover:

Grover said Spectra has moved the station’s location once to affect fewer landowners, and that FERC has strict standards regarding noise and decibel levels. The company has listened to residents’ concerns at more than 50 meetings along the route.

What about those arrowheads found on the previous compressor station site that made it an archaeological site? And after Spectra already paid for that land; so sad.

Residents along the route worry about safety and point to an incident in Maine on Dec. 31, 2013, where a pressure valve blew at a Spectra compressor station, sending gas 100 feet into the air. No injuries were reported.

Dougherty County, Georgia residents could also point to Spectra’s Fort Nelson, British Columbia leak and fire.

In the last nine years, the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration noted 25 incidents that resulted in more than $12 million in property damage just along Spectra’s Texas line.

Here’s Spectra’s VP of Stakeholder Outreach Susan Waller being confronted with PHMSA’s list on camera.

In July Canada’s National Energy Board ordered Spectra’s Westcoast Energy to submit a plan addressing its “management system failures” It has filed Spectra a total of $122,300 for violations that could impact worker safety and infrastructure.

Grover said Spectra’s safety record is better than the industry average. During the past five years, it has received 2 percent of the enforcement actions from the pipeline administration PHMSA and operates 4 percent of the nation’s gas pipelines, based on mileage.

What a sorry safety record that industry must have, then! And who has ever heard of a solar panel that leaks or explodes?

The article says DEP is reviewing the August 7th WWALS petition. They did, and bounced it back for amendments. Here’s the amended petition WWALS submitted August 28th 2015.

Also, Ms. Grover didn’t mention Spectra moved Sabal Trail off the Withlacoochee River in Florida because of some of the same evidence presented by some of the same people as involved in that amended petition just filed by WWALS about the Suwannee River in Florida.

There’s no need for a destructive and hazardous 20th century fossil fuel pipeline through the heart of the Florida springs, under the Suwannee River, and through the Floridan Aquifer.

It’s time for the Sunshine State needs to join the 21st century like even Georgia is doing, and get on with solar power.


You can join this fun and work by becoming a WWALS member today!

3 thoughts on “Sabal Trail faces opposition in Florida and Georgia –Palm Beach Post

  1. terre

    The power companies are running scared, as evidenced by the amendment(s) to the state constitution being currently reviewed by the state Supreme Court. The original one, finally proposed by Floridians For Solar Choice will allow solar power to be purchased by someone other than an electric company. Sounds like a great idea, and one that supports innovation, small businesses, and availability of alternatives other than Big Power. While still allowing the Market to determine who buys what from whom. ON THE OTHER HAND… Consumers for Smart Solar believe that “We” are SMART enough to decide that only the Power Companies that have already shown how much they love us, care for for us than profits, and are to be trusted. (NOT!) This organization, funded by the stock holders of the power companies wants nothing to change. And are doing everything they can to prevent it, including putting another amendment on the ballot to confuse even those that want choice, change, and sustainable alternatives, by telling us we are smart consumers. WWe don’t want you to tell us we’re smart- we want a choice.

    1. jsq Post author

      Yeah, the utilities and fossil fuel companies know a solar financing aw like that passed in Georgia this year, with some of the same people organizing it, using some of the same methods, so they’re scared it will pass in Florida, too.

      And if enough people support Floridians for Solar Choice, it will!


  2. Janis Lentz

    If there EVER was a “need” for this third pipeline project, with the collapse of market prices for all fuels, coal, gas and oil, it makes no sense fiscally for their almighty stockholders now! I am afraid FPL pretty much missed the boat on this one. Decades from now, we will look back at this dinosaur industry and WONDER why we allowed it to outlive its time and why we allowed these greedsters to defile and poison our earth! Every Floridian should have a choice WHO provides their power and the time for this is now. They fact that they think they are going to require us in their secret plans to PAY for fracking in Oklahoma, for God’s sake, to the tune of trillions of dollars, I say NO WAY. And the PSC had better get off the dime and reverse that decision. We can all just go on strike, as a last resort, buy a wood stove and heat our homes that way; the air conditioning, that’s another issue, we will need solar for that. If we get angry enough at these blood suckers (Duke being the worst of them) we surely can find many ways to conserve our use.

Comments are closed.