Thanks to Janet Barrow for this letter approved by the Marion County, Florida BOCC yesterday, 3 May 2016 (PDF). That makes three Florida Counties requesting investigation of Sabal Trail discrepancies by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, after Hamilton County and Suwannee County.
Board of County Commissioners
District 1 — David Moore, Commissioner
District 2 — Kathy Bryant, Chairman
District 3 — Stan McClain, Commissioner
District 4 — Carl Zalak ill, Vice Chairman
District 5 — Earl Arnett, Connnissionar
McPherson Governmental Complex
601 SE ZSth Ave.
Ocala, FL 34471
May 3, 2016
RE: Sabal Trail Transmission and Sabal Trail Citrus County Line projects within Marion County, Florida
Dear Mr. Evans:
Over 30 miles of pipeline are expected to be installed within Marion County, Florida for the Sabal Trail Transmission and Sabal Trail Citrus County Line projects. These pipelines will cross important, sensitive environmental lands, While construction on these lands is not unusual in Marion County, this project is somewhat unique and we would like to have a better understanding of what has been considered and what best management practices will be implemented. The Citizens of Marion County continue to ask us questions which we have relayed to Sabal Trail, and we hope that between their responses and the Corps permitting review, assurances can be provided.
To familiarize you with Marion County. Marion County is home to three First Magnitude Springs, of which both Silver and Rainbow Springs are recognized as two of the largest spring formations in the world. This project passes within 1 mile of the headspring of Rainbow Springs. The flow paths that feed these springs are part of an underground karst network reaching far beyond the county’s boundaries and producing average flows greater than 700 cubic feet per second.
While Sabal Trail project reports identify that Marion County is karst sensitive, we are unable to find specific details associated with their analysis of the Marion County portion of the project (approximate mile post 369 to 399). It would surprise us if there are no closed topographic depressions and other karst features at and within O.25 mile of the project corridor. We would like to review their findings, know what construction techniques are being used in this karst environment, and most especially know more about the pipeline’s tolerances and how it is expected to react should a sinkhole collapse underneath it.
There are also considerable wetlands being impacted by the project, many of which are associated with the Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway known for its large extent of undisturbed, rare habitat. Again, we are unable to find specific information regarding such impacts within Marion County and how they will be avoided or mitigated.
It is important for Marion County and our citizens to have a clear understanding of the project’s environmental impacts and how those will be mitigated by either construction, operation and/or maintenance best management practices. We ask that the Corps obtain the environmental information necessary for an appropriate regulatory review, or conduct an independent investigation of environmental impacts. We also ask that this information be shared with Marion County. Should you wish to discuss these concerns or request, 1 can be reached at (352)438-2323, but also feel free to speak with Tracy Straub, PE, our County Engineer at (352)671-8686. Your help in this endeavor is appreciated.
“Meeting Needs by Exceeding Expectations”
Many groups worked hard to make this letter happen. Marion County, Florida is not in WWALS territory, although we do have members there.
You can join this fun and work by becoming a WWALS member today!