DEP Says No to WWALS, But WAIT. . .

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The Gainesville Sun has an article in Friday’s edition relating the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s rejection  of WWALS’ challenge to their permit for Sabal Trail’s pipeline running across Georgia and Florida.  The rejection was based on DEP’s judgement that WWALS  did not have legal standing for the challenge.

However, it turns out that WWALS had formed a new group called WWALS-Florida hoping to have more clout in FL for the challenge, but the administrative law judge, Francine M. Ffolkes did not Pipeline Project Mapinclude the parent group, WWALS, based in Valdosta  in that interpretation.  Therefore, WWALS will be granted a hearing, but as of this writing, no date has been set.

The Sabal Trail pipeline has been fought tooth and nail by nearly everyone except those destined to make money from it.

The latest news is outlined in Saturday’s article in the Sun which can be read here.

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Part of Sabal Trail challenge will proceed

By Christopher Curry
Staff writer
Published: Friday, September 4, 2015 at 10:11 a.m.

Last Modified: Friday, September 4, 2015 at 10:11 a.m.A portion of a Georgia environmental group’s legal challenge against the Sabal Trail natural gas pipeline will proceed to a hearing before an administrative law judge.

On Thursday, the WWALS Watershed Coalition announced and the Sun reported erroneously that the Florida Department of Protection had rejected all of an amended petition to challenge a DEP permit in before a Division of Administrative Hearings judge.

“Everyone told us we’d never get a hearing, so apparently we interpreted the previous day’s FL-DEP dismissal too broadly,” WWALS President John S. Quarterman said in a statement Friday. But sometimes if you try, you succeed. And WWALS continues to try to stop the unnecessary, destructive, and hazardous Sabal Trail pipeline.”

WWALSlogoThe DEP did reject a petition filed by a newly formed Florida subsidiary of WWALS and rejected portions of the WWALS challenge that raised concerns about diminished property values, higher insurance rates and negative impacts to eco-tourism and alleged a conflict of interest because Gov. Rick Scott, through his blind trust, owned a stake in one of the companies involved in the project.

Portions of the challenge that focus on environmental issues such as impacts to wildlife habitat, water quality, wetlands, the aquifer and the area’s rivers and springs will proceed to a hearing.

Sabal Trail is planned as a $3.2 billion, 515-mile, three-foot-wide pipeline that will carry up to 1 billion cubic feet of natural gas a day from Alabama through south Georgia and a dozen Florida counties, including Alachua, Gilchrist, Suwannee, Levy and Marion, to a connector pipeline in Osceola County. The pipeline will provide natural gas for a Florida Power & Light electric generation and a Duke Energy plant in Citrus County.

It will cross under several rivers, including the Suwannee and Santa Fe.

The pipeline is a joint venture between FPL parent company NextEra, Duke and Spectra Energy Corp, the Houston, Texas company that will design, build and operate the pipeline.

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