Protecting the Santa Fe River in North Florida

Be Informed.


Chris Mericle stands above the active sinkhole, within 50-75 feet of the Sabal gas transmission pipeline corridor. What rationale would allow methane gas to be piped through this terrain?

FERC has signed off on the Sabal Trail pipeline proposal, but its Environmental Impact Study was considered severely inadequate by several groups and agencies.

The Gulf Restoration Network, representing many environmental groups, including   OSFR,  in an extremely well documented letter,  requested a supplemental study as recently posted on this website.    The weaknesses and shortcomings set forth in this letter are serious and far-reaching.

Hamilton County Board of County Commissioners requested a better study, and here are Debra Johnson’s comments on it:

FERC,  the agency that rubber stamped the Sabal Trail pipeline – makes Hamilton County’s BOCC filing requesting an independent study unreadable. But a very talented individual from SpectraBusters — jsq — was able to open the files for all to see that FERC does not want the public to know that Sabal Trail, FDEP lied about the sinkholes directly in pipeline path at State Park endangering us, our water and the beautiful Suwannee River. FERC needs to be investigated and stopped from receiving oil industry $$$.

WWALS Coalition describes and documents this quite thoroughly and you can read it at this link.

Next Tuesday, April 5, The Suwannee County Commission will have its next meeting at 6 p.m. at the Suwannee County Judicial Annex, 218 Parshley St. SW in Live Oak.  Following is an article in the Suwannee Democrat which  explains the action contemplated by the Suwannee County commissioners next Tues. Scroll

Suwannee County Commission to discuss Sabal Trail sinkholes

The Suwannee County Commission will consider on Tuesday asking a regulatory agency to investigate sinkholes near the Sabal Trail natural gas pipeline’s proposed route. 

At its next meeting, the commission will consider sending a letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which must issue a permit for the pipeline project. 

The letter would mimic one Hamilton County recently voted to send, said Suwannee County Commissioner Wesley Wainwright. 

Wainwright asked to have a discussion on Suwannee County sending a similar letter.

There were discrepancies between documentation provided by Sabal Trail and what he saw when he visited the route, he said. 

The Suwannee County Commission attended a workshop in February, where they traveled to the spot where the Sabal Trail pipeline would cross the Suwannee River. Though Wainwright didn’t attend that workshop, he later visited different parts of the route, he said. 

According to Sabal Trail, there are no active sinkholes in a close proximity to the pipeline path. 

However, Wainwright said, there is a sinkhole within around 75 feet of the route.

“It was closer than what had been described in the Sabal Trail outline,” he said. “Significantly closer.”

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers hasn’t issued its final permit yet, Wainwright said.

The letter would ask the corps to go out and look at that particular area, near the Suwannee River State Park.

Sabal Trail is a partnership between Spectra Energy, Duke Energy and NextEra Energy. The pipeline would be operated by the Texas-based Spectra Energy. 

The roughly 500-foot pipeline would run from Alabama through Georgia and several Florida counties, supplying energy to Florida Power & Light. Its route passes directly through Suwannee County. 

It could provide over 1 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day in the Southeastern market, according to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Sabal Trail’s route would pass through conservation areas and wetlands, as well as under the Suwannee River. 

Several local residents, in addition to environmental groups, oppose the pipeline. One of the  concerns, which has been brought up repeatedly by groups such as WWALS Watershed Coalition, is the sensitive nature of Florida’s geology. 

Spectra Energy, in an email from earlier in the year, said construction of the pipeline would start around May or June. 

The Suwannee County Commission have its next meeting 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Suwannee County Judicial Annex, 218 Parshley St. SW.



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