(December 10, 2015) Friday, December 11, 2015, marks the last day that the public can comment on the Sabal Trail natural gas pipeline with the United States Army Corps of Engineers (Corps). The Corps will be determining whether to grant permission for over 950 acres of wetlands to be filled for the over 600 mile project planned through Florida, Georgia and Alabama.
In October, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) wrote a scathing letter of the draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) that the Corps will use to determine the possible effects of the project. “We have environmental objections to a significant portion of the proposed pipeline route” stated Christopher Militscher, the Chief of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) program office in its letter to Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).
Johanna de Graffenreid, the Coastal Campaign Organizer for Gulf Restoration Network spoke to the impact the proposed Sabal Trail pipeline may have on Florida’s drinking water supply. “This aquifer provides for over 60% of Florida’s drinking water and has been deemed a ‘sole source’ aquifer by the EPA.” she continued “Included in the EPA’s long list of concerns is that Spectra Energy, the company hoping to build this dangerous pipeline, did nearly no analysis of alternate routes.”
Both the EPA and Gulf Restoration Network cite that it is crucial to avoid sensitive karst geology found along much of the proposed route to protect the Florida Aquifer.
“In 2014 alone the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration recorded over 700 pipeline leaks or ruptures. Floridians deserve to know that their drinking water is being protected by their government.” de Graffenreid concluded.
Residents are able to submit comments to the Army Corps by e-mailing James Cherry of the US Army Corps of Engineers at firstname.lastname@example.org and referencing the permit numbers SAJ-2013-03030–Sabal Trail Transmission, LLC, SAJ-2013- 03099 – Florida Southeast Connection, LLC. To date over 3,000 comments have been submitted by community members opposing the Army Corps permitting the Sabal Trail pipeline.
Gulf Restoration Network (GRN) is a 21-year-old non-profit dedicated to uniting and empowering people to protect and restore the health of the Gulf of Mexico.