The judge’s ruling was disappointing, but not unexpected. He found for the Respondents Sabal Trail and FDEP on every issue, even standing. WWALS and others will fight on for the Suwannee River, for the Floridan Aquifer, and for the property rights of local citizens against this pipeline boondoggle.
Indeed, “the project would result in unavoidable temporary and permanent losses of portions of wetlands along the route.” Mitigation somewhere else, not even in the same watershed, is no excuse. Nor does such “mitigation” stop the eminent domain takings of local Florida citizens’ lands, or the bulldozing of a grandmother’s ashes, for the profit of a company from Houston, Texas.
This ruling, with its rather remarkable irregularities, appears to provide additional grounds for appeal beyond those we already knew. The judge repeatedly said in the hearing, and we quoted in the WWALS Proposed Recommended Order, that activities such as boating, swimming, fishing, and scuba diving counted for standing, yet his Order only accepts the pipeline actually crossing a member’s land. That the pipeline would go 40 feet under the Suwannee River bed is no excuse, when testimony and exhibits of the hearing demonstrate cracks in the underlying karst limestone can go a hundred or more feet deep, as we pointed out in the WWALS Proposed Recommended Order.
WWALS and all the other opponents of the unnecessary, destructive, and hazardous Sabal Trail fracked methane invasion always knew we were David against Goliath. Nobody thought we would ever get a hearing, and we did. Many doubted we could mount a case, and we did. Finding attorneys was very difficult, but we did. Raising funds to pay them was hard, but we did. David will fight on, one way or another!
Meanwhile, remember to oppose the pro-fracking bills now in the Florida legislature. Wouldn’t it be convenient for the frackers if there were a pipeline already in place?
Rember to vote for the pro-solar referendum by Floridians for Solar Choice. Solar power is faster, cheaper, far safer and cleaner, and requires no pipeline, no eminent domain, and no water. Georgia is the fastest-growing U.S. solar market, partly due to a similar law Georgia passed this year. Florida has more sunshine.
And we hope to see you in Live Oak this Tuesday 6PM December 15th for the Suwannee Board of County Commissioners (SBOCC) meeting. SBOCC doesn’t actually have Sabal Trail on their agenda, since they backed down in Thursday’s emergency meeting. Maybe you’d like to say a few words to them about that, either before the meeting, or at the meeting.
No new pipelines. Let the sun rise on the Sunshine State!