Water and property rights are the same when fighting a natural gas pipeline: Georgia Trend understands what Georgia Water Coalition is doing to stop the Sabal Trail fracked methane pipeline.
Ben Young, Georgia Trend, June 2016, Sustainable Georgia: Collecting Water,
…Nearly every county can claim scenic waterways — some 15 established water trails are highlighted by the Georgia River Network, with another 17 in the works.
But clean water is vital for more than tourism — as evidenced by the continuing news out of Flint, Mich., and the spectacle of that state utterly failing to provide basic services to residents in a way we are more used to seeing in the Third World.
Closer to home, Georgia lawmakers passed SR 954, which grants easements on state property for the construction, operation and maintenance of facilities, utilities and roads. Initially, it also granted easements under navigable waters of six state waterways in five counties — Stewart, Dougherty, Colquitt, Brooks and Lowndes — to allow for Spectra Energy’s proposed 515-mile Sabal Trail natural gas pipeline to travel through Southwest Georgia on its way from Alabama to Florida.
The Environmental Protection Agency voiced its concerns about the pipeline, citing the potential for sinkholes, threats to wetlands and a negative impact on drinking water supplies. Groups like the Georgia Water Coalition opposed the resolution, and it was initially and overwhelmingly rejected by the House. Once it was amended to remove the Sabal Trail easements, however, it passed the House unanimously.
The legislation approaches the issue from a property rights perspective, but in light of Michigan’s water woes, one can imagine the pressure legislators must have felt to ensure our water quality. Why put our water supply at risk for out-of-state companies and customers?
Why yes, the legislators did consider water quality and supply along with property rights before they voted 128 to 34 to deny river-drilling easements to Sabal Trail. WWALS certainly mentioned water and property rights together in the letters and discussions with the state legislators in our watersheds, as did other Georgia Water Coalition members.
The article goes on to discuss coal ash, riparian buffers, and underground water supply protections, some of which lost at the legislature this year. Can’t win ’em all, but next year is another year. The article also discusses harvesting rainwater. The article concludes:
Some say our successes aren’t lauded enough, but we can’t forget our challenges — decent water quality for all Georgians being one of them.
Please go read the whole article.
PS: WWALS has two water trails in process.
You can join this fun and work by becoming a WWALS member today!