Ocala StarBanner heard the EPA watchdog bark

Will the Suwannee County BOCC heed this call?

Editorial, Ocala StarBanner, 29 October 2015, A public watchdog when one’s needed

For more than two years opponents of the Sabal Pipeline have been denouncing the natural gas pipeline project as a threat to North Florida’s groundwater supply and sinkhole-prone geology, only to be waved off by state and federal regulators. It seemed those empowered to protect the people’s interests were not listening.

That is, until this week. At the 11th hour of the public comment [period, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency filed a 26-page letter with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which must approve a permit for the pipeline that is proposed to run from Alabama, through South Georgia and into North Florida before culminating in Osceola County in Central Florida. The pipeline would provide natural gas to Florida Power & Light principally, but also Duke Energy’s new Crystal River plant.

What the EPA said echoed many of the concerns residents and local governments along the 515-mile pipeline’s path have been spouting since the #3.2 billion project was first made public two years ago. Specifically, the EPA questioned how the FERC could argue there would be “no significant environmental impact” when the 36-inch pipeline would traverse both the Suwannee and Santa Fe rivers; 3,750 known or potential karst features, such as sinkholes and underground caverns; 1,200 acres of wetlands, including 700 acres in Florida; hundreds of acres of conservation easements; and dozens of springsheds that serve as aquifer recharge areas, including Rainbow Springs near Dunnellon.

The FERC unflinchingly declared the pipeline “would not result in a significant impact on the environment.” The statement would be laughable if so much were not at stake….

The editorial goes on to quote from that EPA letter, and then continues:

Numerous communities throughout in North Florida and South Georgia have issued official objections to the Sabal Pipeline. We would encourage the Marion County Commission and the Dunnellon City Council to join them.

And how about Suwannee County, the one county that every path ever proposed by Sabal Trail is aimed at? What say you, Suwannee County BOCC?

The trench it will take to bury this pipeline and the trees and foliage that will have to be cleared to make way will undoubtedly be significant. And what damage occurs out of eyesight, below the ground’s surface, is potentially immeasurable.

How refreshing it is to see what is supposed to be a public watchdog, the EPA, act like, rather than serve as industry rubber stamps like the FERC, DEP and PSC.

Indeed, refreshing. Meanwhile, it ain’t over for WWALS v. Sabal Trail & FDEP, and you can help both with that and with numerous other fronts in this fight against the 500-mile IED invader from Houston.


1280x720 1280x720 Movie: How many pipelines do we want? None! When do we want it? Never! (15M)