WWALS has been fighting the unnecessary and hazardous Sabal Trail fracked methane pipeline boondoggle since it was announced in 2013, including a four-month legal case in Florida, and a three-day October 2015 legal hearing for WWALS v. Sabal Trail & FL-DEP. Three independent geologists warned FERC, the Corps, DEP, and everyone else for more than two years in three separate geological reports about what’s happening now: frac-outs under the rivers and sinkholes in the roads.
Many more people and organizations have joined the opposition recently, protecting the waters of Florida, Georgia, and Alabama. See for example the SpectraBusters Allies page and the Protect Florida Against Sabal Trail facebook page, which collects recent and upcoming events.
See a problem? No silt fence, no endangered wildlife signs, no permit, water withdrawal, water dumping? Sabal Trail, FSC, Transco are running hell for leather trying to finish by May 2017 and Sabal Trail have already slipped to June 2017. They’re probably making mistakes. Here are some addresses to report to, plus a petition to sign and other actions you can take.
You can join this fun and work by becoming a WWALS member today!
- 2014-03-05: According to Sabal Trail’s own figures, solar panels can generate just as much electricity on half the acreage of Sabal Trail’s right of way, with no eminent domain, no drilling under rivers and through wetlands, and no risk to the Floridan Aquifer.
- 2016-09-06: No new Florida electricity needed, says FPL, so why Sabal Trail?
- 2017-02: Solar power is here right now: the solar industry provides more jobs than all of coal, oil, and natural gas, more new U.S. electricity came from solar power in 2016 than from anything else, and in 2017 solar will provide more. By about 2023 more U.S. electricity will come from solar power than any other source, and by 2050 we can convert each and every U.S. state to sun, wind, and water power and nothing else. Follow this link for details.
For the latest WWALS blog posts on this topic, see the WWALS blog Pipeline category.
- 2017-04-18: Statewide Week of Action to call FL Sen. Bill Nelson about Sabal Trail
- 2017-04-17: Protests across Florida against Sabal Trail, which is worse than reporters think
Sabal Trail a month late and still sending the press disinformation,
Joseph A. Mann Jr., FloridaBulldog.org, 23 March 2017, With help from investor-Gov. Scott, Sabal Trail natural gas pipeline looks to open in June.
“How sad it is! I shall grow old, and horrible, and dreadful. But this picture will remain always young. It will never be older than this particular day of June…. If it were only the other way! If it were I who was to be always young, and the picture that was to grow old! For that—for that—I would give everything! Yes, there is nothing in the whole world I would not give! I would give my soul for that!” —Dorian Gray, in The Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde
- 2017-04-05: Hunters Creek Pipeline, Sabal Trail, Osceola County, FL 2017-02-07
- 2017-03-31: What is Sabal Trail up to at Pilgrimâ€™s Pride and Suwannee River? 2017-03-20
- 2017-03-13: Sabal Trail wallowing in water, Railroad Ave., Clyattville, GA 2017-03-13,
- 2017-03-13: Sabal Trail hydrostatic test pond at I-75 @ WWALS 2017-02-07
- 2017-03-13: Gum Springs 3,000 feet from Sabal Trail and lower flow @ WWALS 2017-02-07
- 2017-03-09: Sabal Trail burning, water, and pipe in Brooks and Lowndes Counties, GA 2017-03-08
- 2017-03-05: Sabal Trail dispenses misinformation even in response to a shooting death, in which Sabal Trail’s Andrea Grover admits they’re aiming for June 2017, rather than “the critical May 2017 in-service date”.
- 2017-03-05: FL 200 to Citrus County Line, Sabal Trail @ WWALS 2017-02-07
- 2017-03-01: Crystal River overflight, Sabal Trail End of Line @ WWALS 2017-02-07
- 2017-02-26: A man shot by deputies after shooting at Sabal Trail pipe 2017-02-26.
- 2017-02-22: Protestors inside Sabal Trail pipe, Halpata Tastanaki Preserve, Dunnellon, FL
- 2017-02-22: Concrete around Sabal Trail pipe on Sand Mine Road 2017-02-07, 2017-02-21.
- 2017-02-21: Sabal Trail next to Polk County Lift Station #114
- 2017-02-12: On the Suwannee River, Sabal Trail drill path 2017-02-12
- 2017-02-08: Aerials: Sabal Trail half mile from Dunnellon High School,
- 2017-02-07: Sabal Trail still wallowing in water, GA 76 between Morven and Quitman, GA
Susan Salisbury, Palm Beach Post, 3 March 2017,
Sabal Trail pipeline shooter killed by law enforcement in Citrus County (
WWALS blog post)
John Quarterman, Suwannee Riverkeeper, said as far as he knows, no one involved in any pipeline opposition has ever heard of Marker prior to the incident.
“As the first person ever to call for protests on the pipeline this is not what I called for,” Quarterman said Friday.
2017-02-05: Wide-ranging Sabal Trail opposition article by Molly Minta in The Fine Print
Molly Minta, The Fine Print, 5 February 2017,
Rise Against the Machine:
In 2013, Marion County residents began to receive letters from Sabal Trail Transmission. Now, they’ve made it their mission to save their land, and stop Sabal Trail.
But those opposed to the pipeline don’t just have to take on corruption at the state level. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the agency that granted Sabal Trail eminent domain and which oversees interstate pipeline projects, is supposed to regulate the natural gas industry and hold the companies accountable. Activists, however, contend that it does just the opposite.
“The whole system is corrupt from top to bottom,” said John Quarterman, president of the WWALS Watershed Coalition, which stands for the Withlacoochee, Willacoochee, Alapaha, Little and Suwannee rivers. He said that though FERC receives money from Congress every year, it’s self-funding, which means that it is authorized by the government to collect annual fees from the industries it regulates. FERC is the only independent executive agency in the United States with this kind of authority. In essence, Quarterman said, the agency is susceptible to being bought out by the natural gas industries.
“The word you’re looking for starts with ‘c,’ as in corrupt,” Quarterman said. “The polite way of saying it is ‘regulatory capture.’”
FERC isn’t just authorized to collect annual fees, it brags in its annual budget request that it does pay back 100% of its Congressional allocation from fees and charges on the industries it supposedly regulates. This is the wording in FERC’s 2017 budget request:
As authorized by statute, including the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1986, the Commission recovers the full cost of its operations through annual charges and filing fees assessed on the industries it regulates. This revenue is deposited into the Treasury as a direct offset to its appropriation, resulting in no net appropriation.
- 2017-02-07: Sabal Trail still wallowing in water, GA 76 between Morven and Quitman, GA
- 2017-02-03: Stop Sabal Trail pipeline —Harriet Heywood, Citrus County Chronicle 2017-02-03
- 2017-01-29: Quarterman: Sabal Trail pipeline already damaging our area; Tallahassee Democrat op-ed
- 2017-01-28: Walk for Water and Speak for Springs, Dunnellon, FL 2017-01-28
- 2017-01-26: Norman Bay resigns, leaving FERC without a quorum 2017-01-26
- Cheryl A. LaFleur again FERC Acting Chairman 2017-01-26
- 2017-01-25: Sabal Trail pipe and tires standing in water, Cool Springs Road, Baconton, GA 2017-01-25
- 2017-01-25: Water standing on Sabal Trail RoW, Colquitt County towards Mitchell County, GA 2017-01-25
- International coverage of Sabal Trail opposition and Suwannee River water protectors —The Guardian 2017-01-24
- 2017-01-23: Videos: Tallahassee: Hold Regulatory Agencies Accountable for Sabal Trail and FSC fracked gas pipelines 2017-01-23
- 2017-01-23: Sabal Trail erosion and waterlogged, Brooks County, GA 2017-01-23
- 2017-01-20: Tornado crosses Sabal Trail unfinished pipeline last night: time to report violations 2017-01-20
- 2017-01-23: Tallahassee: Hold Regulatory Agencies Accountable for Sabal Trail and FSC fracked gas pipelines 2017-01-23
- 2017-01-14: Sabal Trail red pipe going into the ground in Hamilton County, FL 2017-01-14
- 2017-01-14: CR 141 Sabal Trail Troy Access, Hamilton County, FL 2017-01-14
- 2017-01-14: Revoke Sabal Trail Permits 2017-01-14
- 2017-01-14: Pictures and video, Suwannee River Outing and Protest 2017-01-14
- 2017-01-12: Suwannee Riverkeeper called water protectors to Live Oak —WCTV 2017-01-12
- 2017-12-15: Vulnerability of LNG by Rail —Martin County Fire Rescue 2015-12-15
- 2017-01-12: Live Oak Rivers Rally 7PM tonight in Valdosta Daily Times 2017-01-12
- 2017-01-08: Solar power versus Sabal Trail –Suwannee Riverkeeper in VDT 2017-01-08
John S. Quarterman, Citrus County Chronicle, other voices, 25 December 2016,
Stop gas pipeline; invest in solar (WWALS blog post with illustrations and links to evidence)
Sabal Trail and FDEP assured us there would be no problems drilling a 36-inch natural gas pipeline through the fragile karst limestone under the Suwannee River and the Withlacoochee (south) River in Florida, yet already Sabal Trail’s pilot hole under the Withlacoochee (north) River in Georgia caused a frac-out of drilling mud into the river and a sinkhole. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers should halt construction and do a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement.
- Sabal Trail HDD and Compressor sites 2016-12-22
Larry Buhl, DeSmogBlog, 9 December 2016,
Sabal Trail Opponents Say Pipeline Is Part of Florida’s ‘Overbuilt’
Gas Infrastructure (WWALS blog post)
John Quarterman, president of [… WWALS] Watershed Coalition, recalled that Sabal Trail representatives, when pressed at public hearings, maintained that, as a pipeline company they had no idea where gas going through their pipes might end up, a claim that he and other activists find hard to believe.
Chris Pedersen, writing for the industry publication OilPrice.com in October 2014, wrote that Transco and Sabal Trail pipelines could be used to explore new overseas markets for Utica and Marcellus Shale gas.
Sabal Trail opponents say gas flowing through the Sabal Trail pipeline could easily end up at export terminals on the Florida coast. For example
- No sign of sinkhole with equipment in it 2016-12-18.
- 2016-12-17: Why #NoSabalTrail #NoDAPL #WaterIsLife
- 2016-12-14: GA-EPD found Sabal Trail right of way violation 2016-12-14
- 2016-12-13: Sabal Trail Hamilton County Suwannee River HDD
- 2016-12-12: Sabal Trail, Rocky Ford Road, Lowndes County, Georgia
Sabal Trail violations FDEP assured us would not happen are happening
“Well, any work within, or could have adverse effects on OFW, is considered. In this case, we determine that there would be no impacts to the OFW.”
Apparently not only FDEP’s sole witness Lisa Prather believed Sabal Trail….
- Calypso Court sinkhole 2000 feet from Sabal Trail pipeline 2016-12-09: Calypso Court sinkhole 2000 feet from Sabal Trail pipeline
A major sinkhole developed today within about 2000 feet of Sabal Trail’s path in Osceola County, Florida. Rather like what we warned them about last year in WWALS v Sabal Trail & FDEP.
- 2016-12-06: Sabal Trail at Okapilco Creek 2016-12-06
We didn’t see any silt fences where Sabal Trail has red pipe laid out across Okapilco Creek and Little Creek, north of Coffee Road, west of GA 333 in Brooks County, Georgia, between Barwick and Barney.
- 2016-12-06: College mutual fund VA529 owns Sabal Trail stranded assets,
Do the parents and grandparents who bought Virginia529 funds as safe investments for future college know VA529 is the biggest mutual fund investor in risky investments Spectra Energy of Sabal Trail and Enbridge of the Dakota Access Pipeline? Maybe you’d like to point that out to Mary G. Morris, the Chief Executive Officer of Virginia529 College Savings Plan, the biggest mutual fund investor in both Spectra Energy and in Enbridge, which is buying Spectra.
- Anne Schindler, WTLV, 5 December 2016: “Sinkhole raises collapse concerns at pipeline drilling site”,
The company says the sinkhole, which appeared Nov. 5, has nothing to do with the Nov. 17 incident, in which drilling mud penetrated the Withlacoohee River from operations below.
“The two items you referenced are unrelated,” spokesperson Andrea Grover said in a written statement. “The sinkhole is in an upland and approximately 1,400 feet from the previously reported inadvertent release.”
Doesn’t Sabal Trail’s $3 billion dollar pipeline connect those two items?
- Karen Edelstein, FracTracker, 29 November 2016, The Sabal Trail Pipeline: A Sinking Feeling,
Even in the phases of construction, environmentalists in Georgia discovered that the Sabal Trail pipeline had started leaking drilling mud from a pilot hole into the Withlacooche River in late October, and continued to ooze turbid mud for at least three weeks. Environmental advocates from the WWALS … Watershed Coalition raised concerns that if a pilot hole could cause such a leakage, what could happen once full-scale directional drilling was occurring?
- Michael D. Bates, Citrus County Chronicle, November 26, 2016, “In the pipeline,”
“the project is proceeding as scheduled” and “We are on target for an end-of-June in-service date…”
Hm, that’s a month after their previous May 2017 in-service date.
- Calypso Court sinkhole 2000 feet from Sabal Trail pipeline 2016-12-09: Calypso Court sinkhole 2000 feet from Sabal Trail pipeline
- Madison Blue Spring and Sabal Trail pipeline 2016-11-23
- National coverage of Sabal Trail as Florida’s DAPL: #NoDAPL, #NoSabalTrail, #WaterIsLife
- Informative forum against Sabal Trail in Citrus County —Harriet Heywood
- Quitman, GA supplying water to Sabal Trail
- Sinkhole, Sabal Trail HDD, Lowndes County, GA 2016-12-02
Sabal Trail caused a sinkhole at the HDD site in Lowndes County, in addition to the frac-out under the Withlacoochee River previously discovered by WWALS, plus a bunch of other sinkholes or “depressions” they just reported today. They say they discovered the HDD site sinkhole the day after they told FERC there was no sinkhole at what appears to be exactly the location they now, four weeks later, say is a sinkhole.
- Bell, Gilchrist County, FL, Sabal Trail, Santa Fe River 2016-11-23
- Sabal Trail HDD Santa Fe River 2016-11-23
- Withlacoochee River, HDD, Suwannee River #NoSabalTrail #NoDAPL
- Sacred Water Camp 2016-11-20
Derrek Vaughn, Valdosta Daily Times, 17 November 2016,
WWALS Watershed Coalition hold demonstration (WWALS blog post),
“Demonstrators gathered to protest the Sabal Trail pipeline and participate in the “Dirty Dozen” waterways conference call.”
WWALS Watershed Coalition sponsored the demonstration.
Members and demonstrators met in the median of Highway 84 at the Withlacoochee River Bridge to listen to the Georgia Water Coalition’s “Dirty Dozen 2016” conference call.
Georgia Water Coalition, Waterkeeper Alliance, 17 November 2016,
“Dirty Dozen” Calls Out Most Threatened Waters in Georgia,
Written by Georgia Water Coalition, a group of more than 230 organizations including Altamaha Riverkeeper, Apalachicola Riverkeeper, Chattachoochee Riverkeeper, Flint Riverkeeper, Ogeechee Riverkeeper, Satilla Riverkeeper, Savannah Riverkeeper, St. Marys Riverkeeper, and WWALS Watershed Coaltion, a Waterkeeper Affiliate.
Georgia’s leading water coalition named its “Dirty Dozen” for 2016, highlighting 12 of the worst offenses to Georgia’s waters. The annual Dirty Dozen shines a spotlight on threats to Georgia’s water resources. It also highlights the polluters and state policies or failures that threaten the health and safety of Georgia’s waters. Nine Riverkeepers and Affiliates are members of the Georgia Water Coalition.
“This year’s report highlights the real, human costs of dirty energy production in Georgia’s communities,” said Joe Cook, Advocacy and Communication Coordinator for Coosa River Basin Initiative. “Toxic chemicals from coal plants are showing up in groundwater wells and in our rivers while risky proposals for transporting and extracting gas and oil threaten water supplies, wildlife and property rights.”
Bruce Ritchie, Politico, 17 November 2016,
Sabal Trail spill, protests across U.S. spur debate over natural gas pipeline in Florida,
TALLAHASSEE — Environmentalists are raising concerns over a drilling mud discharge last month from a natural gas pipeline being dug under the Withlacoochee River in Georgia that could damage the river and downstream springs in Florida.
The criticisms come as Native Americans have drawn national attention to their opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota, and 14 people protesting the pipeline in Florida were arrested Saturday in Gilchrist County of disorderly conduct and other charges.
Sabal Trail Tranmission company officials said the discharge in the Withlacoochee River was cleaned up as they installed a floating yellow turbidity curtain, similar to an oil spill boom, to prevent the spread of two gallons of drilling mud. The river flows into Florida 15 miles downstream and eventually into the Suwannee River.
The Georgia Water Coalition on Wednesday listed the Sabal Trail pipeline on its annual “dirty dozen” list of threats to rivers in the state. Several of those rivers, including the Chattahoochee, Flint and Withlacoochee rivers, eventually flow into Florida.
John Quarterman of the WWALS Watershed Coalition environmental group in Georgia said the public was told such accidents were not possible.
“So what else can happen that they said couldn’t happen?” Quarterman asked. “And why should we take that risk or any risk for this pipeline that has never been of any benefit to the state?”
Ashlyn Becton, WALB, 16 November 2016,
Environmentalist raise awareness about Sabal Trail Pipeline (WWALS blog post),
Folks from North Florida and South Georgia held a protest at the Withlacoochee River Wednesday and listened to a news conference announcing the Georgia Water Coalition’s Dirty Dozen.
The report highlights the worst offenses and greatest threats to Georgia’s bodies of water.The 3.2-billion dollar Sabal Trial pipeline will pass through nine south Georgia counties, and water coalition members are not happy about it.
“There is no excuse for this pipeline and it is massively destructive,” said John Quarterman.
Quarterman is the president of the WWALS Watershed Coalition out of Hahira.
That group has fought the pipeline since it was announced in 2013, including a 4-month legal challenge.
“Sabal Trail told us in a legal case in Florida that we would never, it couldn’t happen that drilling would cause things to bubble up in the area. It happened right over there just 2,000 feet up stream,” said Quarterman.
Nick Evans, WUSF, 14 November 2016,
Drilling Mud Leak In South Georgia Raises New Sabal Trail Pipeline Concerns
(WWALS blog post)
Water activists are raising the alarm over a South Georgia drilling leak in the Withlacoochee River. Sabal Trail is drilling beneath the river to build a more than 500-mile natural gas pipeline stretching from Alabama to Florida.
WWALS Watershed Coalition works to protect….
Steve Patterson, Jacksonville.com, 14 November 2016,
Gas pipeline project headed to Suwannee River leaks into Georgia waterway; sparks environmental worries (WWALS PR),
A leak in the shaft for a natural gas pipeline beneath a Georgia river has reinforced environmental worries at Florida’s Suwannee River and other waterways in the pipeline’s path.
The leak into the Withlacoochee River near Valdosta, Ga. underscored earlier concerns about twin hazards from the Sabal Trail pipeline: that pipeline shafts could leak contaminants into rivers, and let river water escape through cracks in the area’s sinkhole-riddled bedrock.
“What they said couldn’t happen did happen,” said John Quarterman, president of the WWALS Watershed Coalition, Inc., a group fighting work on the 515-mile pipeline planned to cross three states.
- GWC Dirty Dozen Press Conference at US 84 Withlacoochee River Bridge with tour of Sabal Trail HDD #NoDAPL #NoSabalTrail #WaterIsLife 2016-11-16
- Sabal Trail still leaking drilling mud into the Withlacoochee River at US 84 in GA 2016-11-12
- 14 arrested as Water Is Life Camp protecting Santa Fe River against Sabal Trail
- Sabal Trail Contractor Yard in Brooks County, GA 2016-11-10
- Sacred Water Camp protecting the Suwannee River from Sabal Trail 2016-11-06
- Drilling mud oozing up into the Withlacoochee River from Sabal Trail HDD
- What is Sabal Trail sending into the Withlacoochee River between Quitman and Valdosta, GA? WWALS PR 2016-11-09
- Non-answers in Sabal Trail Biweekly Status Report 2016-11-04
- Report a problem.
- CY3-6 full less than a day after FERC approval: Sabal Trail Moultrie contractor yard 2016-10-22
- FERC Reform an initiative from the Gulf and south Atlantic Waterkeeper Retreat
- Waterkeeper Alliance asks Obama to halt DAPL
- Crowdsourcing pictures of Sabal Trail path
- The google map in the Sabal Trail maps digitized post now has all Sabal Trail’s alignment maps from 7 April 2016 linked in for Suwannee and Hamilton Counties, FL and Lowndes, Brooks, Colquitt, and Mitchell Counties, GA. Aerial pictures from the WWALS Southwings flight of October 22nd 2016 are also linked in, starting with US 84 HDD Withlacoochee River and US 129 HDD Santa Fe River.
- US 129 HDD Santa Fe River Sabal Trail 2016-10-22
- From the air: US 84 HDD Withlacoochee River Sabal Trail 2016-10-22,
What is that yellow thing in the river, Sabal Trail? Is that a sinkhole you’ve marked at the Lowndes County HDD site? And does blue pipe mean thinner for rural areas like your executive from Houston told us in WWALS v Sabal Trail & FDEP?
FERC gave you permission to drill under, not on top of, the Withlacoochee River. Drilling at all there is risky, because of sinkholes. Thinner pipe farther along is still in sinkhole-prone karst terrain.
- Jim Tatum, Our Santa Fe River, 22 October 2016,
Sabal Trail Under Construction,
John Quarterman of WWALS organized and executed today Oct. 22, 2016 a flight along the Sabal Trail construction zone along the Suwannee basin. Flight covered was from the Santa Fe River crossing south of Branford to Moultrie, Georgia. Corridor covered from Suwannee, Hamilton in Florida to Lowndes, Brooks and Colquitt Counties in Georgia.
Hats off to John Quarterman for the organizing, research and execution, and also to Roy Zimmerman, volunteer pilot from Deland who gave his time, use of aircraft and aviation gas. Additional crew was Dominic Gheesling, professional photographer and your historian from OSFR. Look for the well-researched, heavily-documented, link-laden WWALS post soon to come out. Thank you John, for this opportunity.
- 2016-10-17: Sabal Trail requests same-week variance to Colquitt County, GA creek
- Thomas Lynn, Suwannee Democrat, 18 October 2016, Sabal Trail protesters camp outside pipeline route
- 2016-10-16: Encampment against Sabal Trail in Suwannee County, Florida
- All 144 of Florida Southeast Connection’s May 2016 alignment maps are now available in small, big, huge, and PDF formats, courtesy of Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange (LAKE).
- All 527 of Sabal Trail’s April 2016 alignment maps are now available in small, big, huge, and PDF formats, courtesy of Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange (LAKE).
- 2016-10-07: Sabal Trail begins at Hillabee Power Plant
- 2016-10-05: Sabal Trail preparing to drill under Withlacoochee River in Georgia
- 2016-09-23: Sabal Trail protests continue, Valdosta Daily Times
- 2016-09-21: Shannon Larsen, YouTube, “Join our efforts to defend and protect our natural areas and natural systems, waters, and wildlife, for our future generations yet to come, from private pipeline companies with one agenda: greed and profit, with total disregard for the sacred. Southeast Market Pipelines Project, underground pipeline project from eastern Alabama through Georgia and Florida….”
- 2016-09-20: Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson, Sierra Club, “Construction has begun. Let’s make it stop. This is north Florida in O’Brien, FL; land clearing and leveling at a future compressor station and the pipeline construction yard for Sabal Trail Gas Transmission Pipeline.” In this video Merrillee says Sabal Trail has already ravaged the location of a local landowner’s grandmother’s ashes.
- 2016-09-22: Sabal Trail maps digitized
2016-09-22: Sierra Club, Flint Riverkeeper and Chattahoochee Riverkeeper filed a lawsuit in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia challenging the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) approval of the massive Southeast Market Pipeline project, which involves 685.5 miles of natural gas pipeline for approximately 1.1 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas to markets in Florida and the southeast United States. The groups contend the FERC failed to analyze the climate impacts of the project and the power-plants it would serve and also failed to adequately analyze alternate routes that would have less impacts on the environment and communities of color.
- 2016-09-21: WWALS and 182 Organizations from 35 States Call for Congressional Review of FERC
Hundreds of Nonprofit Organizations Join to Demand Reform of Rogue Agency
Washington, DC, September 21, 2016 — More than 180 organizations representing communities across America called on leaders in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and House Energy and Commerce Committee to hold congressional hearings into the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) extensive history of bias and abuse. The groups are also requesting reform of the Natural Gas Act, which the groups say, gives too much power to FERC and too little to state and local officials.
“The time has now come for Congress to investigate how FERC is using its authority and to recognize that major changes are in fact necessary in order to protect people, including future generations, from the ramifications of FERC’s misuse of its power and implementation of the Natural Gas Act,” says Maya van Rossum, the Delaware Riverkeeper, leader of the Delaware Riverkeeper Network and a primary organizer of the effort.
“A prime example of FERC’s dereliction of duty to the public benefit is the Sabal Trail fracked methane pipeline Spectra Energy is drilling through Alabama, Georgia, and Florida and under our Withlacoochee River in Georgia and our Suwannee River in Florida,” says John S. Quarterman, president of WWALS Watershed Coalition, Inc. (WWALS), the Waterkeeper® Affiliate for the upper Suwannee River.
- 9AM Saturday September 17th 2016: Protect Withlacoochee River from Sabal Trail @ US 84 2016-09-17
- Pictures and video from Tuesday September 13th 2016: #NoDAPL #NoSabalTrail @ Suwannee River State Park 2016-09-13
- 2016-09-13: Sabal Trail destruction at Bell property, Mitchell Co.
- #NoSabalTrail under Suwannee River: paddle or walk 5:30 PM Tuesday 2016-09-13
- Same owners, DAPL and Sabal Trail
- WWALS one of 93 co-signers on: Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Waterkeepers Worldwide Stand in Solidarity with Sioux Nation to Stop Dakota Access Pipeline
- 2016-09-06: No new Florida electricity needed, says FPL, so why Sabal Trail?
- FPL admits no need for new electricity until 2024: so why Sabal Trail? (LAKE blog)
- Judge Gives Sabal Trail Withlacoochee River Easement 2016-07-29
Update 2016-08-10: Suwannee River Water Management District
Update 2016-07-01: Geological reports:
Three independent geologists warned FERC, the Corps, DEP, and everyone else for more than two years about what’s happening now: frac-outs under the rivers and sinkholes in the roads.
- 2016-07-01: New hydrology report exposes Sabal Trail pipeline risk to Floridan Aquifer
- 2016-06-23: Hydrogeologic Issues of Concern, HDD under Suwannee River –Peter J. Schreuder
- 2015-10-25: Geological determinations about Sabal Trail and Suwannee River by Dennis Price P.G.
- 2014-10-18: Sinkhole formation and collapse due to drilling under the Withlacoochee River, about David Brown, 22 August 2014, ￼ Hydrogeology Report: Sabal Trail methane pipeline crossing of Withlacoochee River.
Update 2016-04-10: More things you can do:
- Contact your county commission or city council and ask them to rescind any easements and to call in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, like Hamilton and Suwannee Counties Florida and WWALS have done.
- Thank your GA state reps for an historic victory, refusing river-drilling easements to Sabal Trail.
- Ask your federal representative to ask GAO to investigate FERC and rubberstamps like Sabal Trail.
- Florida Petition against Sabal Trail
Update 2016-02-03: FERC has issued its permits, but the fight is not over
Update 2016-02-02: Petition to federal officials/.
Before an Administrative Law Judge, in Jasper, Florida, to stop FL-DEP from issuing a permit for Sabal Trail to use Florida wetlands and to drill under the Suwannee River through the center of the most vulnerable area of the Floridan Aquifer (ironically according to FL-DEP), right in the Florida Springs Heartland. You can contribute to the legal fund, you can join WWALS or contribute to the general fund, or you can help in other ways.
Videos of Suwannee County residents or landowners testifying at the hearing, many of whom are also expected to speak at the Suwannee County Commission meeting 17 November 2015 about a proposed resolution against Sabal Trail. (They did, as you can see in SBOCC’s own video, and SBOCC passed a resolution.)
- 10 AM Wednesday 21 October 2015: WWALS videos
- 10 AM Tuesday 20 October 2015: WWALS videos
- 10 AM Monday 19 October 2015: WWALS videos
On the WWALS dropbox:
When: the hearing is complete, and we await the judge’s order
within 30 days on or before 6 December 2015. That order will be is an actual decision (not a recommendation to DEP), because this was a summary hearing.
Notice of any appeal must be filed within 30 days. If WWALS wins as our PRO says we should, it’s very likely Sabal Trail will appeal. If the respondents win, WWALS may appeal. For either type of appeal, our counsel are quite professional, which includes they do charge money, so keep those contributions coming in to the IndieGoGo campaign, or become a WWALS member, or you can send a check.
Where: Hamilton County Board of Commissioners Chambers,
207 NE First Street
Jasper, Florida 32052
WWALS invites you to the hearing.
WWALS has opposed the unnecessary, destructive, and hazardous Sabal Trail “natural” gas pipeline since at least November 2013. Here’s WWALS at the proposed Sabal Trail crossing of the Suwannee River August 15th 2015. The latest posts on this subject are in the Pipeline category.
Some important documents related to the current Florida Division of Administrative Hearings (DOAH) Case No. 15-4975, WWALS Watershed Coalition Inc. vs. Sabal Trail Transmission, LLC and Department of Environmental Protection:
- Online docket with documents as they are filed: https://www.doah.state.fl.us/ALJ/. Click “Case Search”, enter case number 15-004975, then click “Docket”.
- 2015-11-16: Proposed Recommended Orders.
2015-11-09: The judge ordered the EPA letter could not be admitted because it wasn’t an actual action taken or determination made. In considering whether it could be admitted anyway under exceptions to hearsay, he remarked:
The EPA letter has little value to Petitioner with that limitation except as cumulative evidence, which is offset by the problems associated with its late submittal.
Which would seem to indicate the EPA letter is, as WWALS said, evidence in support of WWALS’ case.
- 2015-10-30: WWALS filed a MOTION TO TAKE JUDICIAL NOTICE OF EPA REPORT TO FERC DATED OCTOBER 26, 2015 AND TO SUPPLEMENT THE RECORD WITH EVIDENCE UNAVAILABLE AT THE TIME OF HEARING. The EPA letter is also here.
- 10/13/2015: WWALS Watershed Coalition, Inc.s Opposition to Sabal Trail Transmission, LLCs Motion to Strike filed.
- 10/12/2015: Respondent, Sabal Trail Transmission, LLCs, Motion to Strike filed.
- 2015-10-09: WWALS Re-Amended Petition buttressing standing and citing statutes and rules both the ERP and the Easement would violate.
- 2015-10-09: Hearing venue set: Hamilton County Board of Commissioners Chambers, 207 NE First Street Jasper, Florida 32052. WWALS invites you to the hearing.
- 2015-09-22: Hearing set for Jasper (or Live Oak) 19-22 October 2015.
- WWALS has asked for the hearing to be in Jasper, FL in the third or fourth week of November. The respondents prefer Tallahassee in October, and plan to ask Monday 21 September 2015 for a Summary Hearing, which would have to be scheduled within 30 days.
- 2015-09-04: Initial Order from DOAH, Judge Bram D.E. Canter.
- 2015-09-03: Request for an Administrative Law Judge from FL-DEP to DOAH. All the previous documents are linked in.
- 2015-08-28: WWALS Amended Petition to FL-DEP for a hearing against issuance of a permit to Sabal Trail. And some context.
- 2015-07-10: FL-DEP CONSOLIDATED NOTICE OF INTENT TO ISSUE ENVIRONMENTAL RESOURCE PERMIT AND EASEMENT TO USE SOVEREIGN SUBMERGED LANDS.
- News articles about this case are collected along with others about WWALS in the WWALS news web page.
- The most recent WWALS blog posts on this subject are in the Pipeline category.
Here are some other ways you can help:
- Suwannee County, Florida
Suwannee County landowners v. Sabal Trail surveying 2015-12-07,
Suwannee County landowners vs Sabal Trail’s right to survey at Suwannee County courthouse Dec 7 at 3:30, Live Oak, FL. Landowners have lawyers.
- Sabal Trail pipeline route discussion, Suwannee Board of County Commissioners, 2015-12-01
- Suwannee County, FL sends resolution against Sabal Trail to FERC 2015-11-30
- Suwannee County landowners v. Sabal Trail surveying 2015-12-07,
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC):
- Ecomment to FERC or file a motion to intervene on Sabal Trail FERC docket CP15-17.
- FERC Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) of 18 December 2015.
- Here’s the letter WWALS sent to FERC about our acid blackwater rivers and pipeline corrosion, with the Sabal Trail item in the 2014 Georgia Water Coalition Dirty Dozen attached.
- Here’s what numerous local, state, and federal elected and appointed officials have said.
- Here’s the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) FERC and contractors prepared about Sabal Trail.
- Here are videos of what ordinary citizens said, landowners, students, parents, children, to FERC in meetings a few weeks ago at the FERC hearings on Sabal Trail, starting 28 September 2015 in Albany, GA, then in WWALS territory Sept 29th in Moultrie, Sept 30th in Valdosta, Oct 1st in Lake City, and then other cities in Florida and Alabama.
- Monday Sept. 28th Albany, GA. Videos from Albany by Thomas Swain.
- Tuesday Sept. 29th, Moultrie, GA. LAKE videos from Moultrie, where two WWALS members spoke.
- Wednesday Sept. 30th, Valdosta, GA. Here’s what WWALS members said in Valdosta, and LAKE videos of the whole meeting.
- Thursday Oct 1st, Lake City, FL. LAKE videos from Lake City where about eight WWALS members spoke.
- Applaud the dozen people who fasted day and night in front of FERC’s DC offices via Beyond Extreme Energy
- Saturday October 3rd, Kayaktivism Day, Withlacoochee River, Valdosta, GA. New fallers and a sign on the bridge: pictures of Kayaktivism 2015-10-03.
- Comment or call for a public hearing by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE):
- Convenient comment form by Gulf Restoration Network.
- Extended USACE comment deadline to December 11, 2015.
- Mobile Division, about Proposed Discharge of Sabal Trail Fill Material
- Jacksonville Division, about the Clean Waters Act and the Rivers and Harbors Act on “cumulative impacts of the proposed activity on the public interest”
- Savannah Division, about the Rivers and Harbors Act and the Clean Water Act
Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GA-EPD):
Ask the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (GA-DNR) board to reverse its
give-away on 23 September 2015 of license agreements and permanent easements to Sabal Trail under the Chattahoochee, Flint, Ochlockonee, and Withlacoochee Rivers, plus Okapilco Creek:
Land Committee – Tab D
Dwight Davis, Chairman
Members: Mobley, Vt Chairman, Bagwell, Evans, Jones, Leebern, Phelps, Sawhill, Shailendra
- Granting of Revocable License Agreements and Permanent Easements totaling 0.27± acres by the State Properties Commission and General Assembly to Sabal Trail Transmission, LLC to install and maintain a natural gas pipeline under navigable waters of the State, Stewart, Dougherty, Colquitt, Brooks, and Lowndes Counties
- Ask the Georgia State Properties Commission not to ratify GA-DNR’s give-away to Sabal Trail.
- Comment or attend the GA-EPD air quality permit public hearing in Albany, Georgia 5 November 2015 about Sabal Trail’s proposed compressor station there.
- Comment or call for a public hearing by GA-EPD about the Clean Waters Act and the Rivers and Harbors Act on “cumulative impacts of the proposed activity on the public interest”
- Ask the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (GA-DNR) board to reverse its give-away on 23 September 2015 of license agreements and permanent easements to Sabal Trail under the Chattahoochee, Flint, Ochlockonee, and Withlacoochee Rivers, plus Okapilco Creek:
- SpectraBusters has a long list of other organizations opposing new pipelines, fracking, or LNG export.
- Oppose another pipeline, either a Spectra pipeline or by any other company. There is no excuse for new fossil fuel pipelines now that sun and wind power are cheaper, faster, use no fuel or cooling water and require no pipelines nor eminent domain, and are far cleaner and safer.
Help stop one pipeline; help stop them all!file a