The FERC FEIS isn’t a permit, the Army Corps hasn’t issued a permit, GA-EPD is still considering an air quality permit for the Albany, GA air compressor, and it’s still possible to stop the GA-DNR easements for drilling under Georgia rivers including the Withlacoochee and Okapilco Creek. This is all regardless of whether FDEP issues its drilling permit for the Suwannee and Santa Fe Rivers. You can still help stop this invasion by the “Sinkhole Trail” of our local lands, water, and air.
Among the press recently by Politico, Law360, Natural Gas Intelligence, the Suwannee Democrat, the Ocala StarBanner, the Palm Beach Post, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Valdosta Today, and others, is this long local piece. Joe Adgie, Valdosta Daily Times, 20 December 2015, EPA reverses stand on impact pipeline would have on aquifer,
That’s what FERC’s announcement of its Final Environmental Impact Statment (FEIS) said, but where is the LiDAR, as WWALS board member Chris Mericle keeps asking?
“I don’t understand how EPA and FERC can say there will not be a negative impact on our environment, aquifer, streams and rivers,” said Valdosta City Councilman Tim Carroll. “A number of experts testified and spoke up saying the likelihood is very high that there could be damage to the aquifer and the environment. Why would we want to allow this to happen, to run the risk of seriously degrading one of the best water resources in the world?”
A Sierra Club of Florida official suggested the change in direction was politically motivated.
“I smell a skunk,” said Frank Jackalone, senior organizing manager of the Sierra Club of Florida. “This sudden 180-degree reversal raises the question of whether the pipeline’s powerful investors pulled political strings to get EPA to back away from the objections it raised a few months ago.”
John Quarterman, WWALS Watershed Coalition president, was not pleased with the change in direction either.
“The one government agency actually defending our drinking water in the Floridan Aquifer and the many rivers in Georgia and Florida just stifled itself,” Quarterman said.
The pipeline has been the subject of criticism from residents of Florida, Georgia and Alabama since 2013.
Local opposition has concerned property rights, with landowners contending Sabal Trail has illegally used eminent domain to get on their property for a pipeline that may not supply natural gas to customers in Georgia.
The Lowndes County Commission and the Valdosta City Council passed resolutions in 2014 opposing the pipeline, contending the rights of property owners were in jeopardy because of the pipeline.
Other resolutions were passed by Brooks, Colquitt, Dougherty, and Terrell Counties in Georgia, as well as the Moultrie and Albany city councils, and Hamilton and Suwannee Counties in Florida.
WWWALS legal counsel is working up exceptions to the order from the Florida judge that favored Sabal Trail.
EPA may have stepped back, but the opposition is stepping up.