The Sabal Trail Transmission pipeline now under construction in Florida has cost millions of dollars, untold destruction of vegetation, wildlife, cultural infrastructure, homesteads and private lands, re-locations, risks and yet-to-happen damage to the environment.
It has been imposed on unwilling Florida citizens by their elected and appointed agencies. One of these agencies is the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC), and one of these citizens is Janet Barrow of Marion County, Florida.
Following is an open letter from Janet Barrow to the PSC. After her letter, continue reading to learn more about the PSC.
My open letter to the Florida PSC: December 5, 2016
Florida Public Service Commission
2540 Shumard Oak Blvd.
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0850
To Whom It May Concern:
The PSC approved the Sabal Trail pipeline, allowing this out of state company to drill and trench through our karstic lands and under our rivers so they can profit and even export the fracked gas they will transmit through their high-pressure explosive gas pipelines (1.1 billion cubic feet per day under maximum pressure of 1,456 psig), risking our Floridan Aquifer. Sabal Trail attorney, Eric Olsen, admitted at a public Water Management Governing Board Meeting that this gas could be exported.
Sabal Trail construction crews have already experienced problems with the karstic terrain, causing a “frack-out” (John Peconum, FERC Environmental Biologist in charge of Sabal Trail described it in those terms) in which drilling mud leaked through the bedrock from the HDD bore hole far under the Withlacoochee River in Georgia, reaching the surface of the river itself through all that karstic bedrock. Sabal Trail assured us that this would not happen, yet it did. There have been documented reports that Sabal Trail has also caused sinkholes (CR 49 and the Santa Fe River HDD site) during their construction, and they have spilled gallons of epoxy hardener. I am certain that there will be many more incidents in the future if this project is not stopped.
The government agencies have rubber-stamped this project, not doing their due diligence. Sabal Trail has routed their pipeline through extremely karstic lands throughout north and central Florida, and they are damaging fragile waters (rivers, springs, and wetlands) throughout the entire route. “Mediation” is a tenuous band-aid treatment for the wounds that they are creating. The scars will impact Florida and potentially cause “loss of use” of vital resources (like clean water.)
We have seen the damage from the sinkhole at the Mulberry Mosaic property, leaking radioactive waste into our aquifer. Have you all checked into the sinkholes and cave systems near Live Oak where this pipeline is being built? To the general public, it is beyond stupid to risk putting a gas pipeline through this and similar areas of Florida. Sabal Trail pipeline is likely to have a sinkhole causing similar degree of impact to Mosaic (or worse) at some point in time, only this time it would involve explosive gas, with discharge of millions of cubic feet of toxic chemicals. Sabal Trail’s own filings with FERC list over eighty chemicals besides methane in their so-called “natural” gas. Who in the government has analyzed the path these other chemicals take when a leak or explosion occurs? Where do they go in our air, soil, and water?
I have reviewed the karst studies for one small area in Marion County, and there are serious errors and omissions that could have an impact on our safety, our nearby schools (Dunnellon Elementary and High Schools are located between half and one mile from pipeline site), First Magnitude Rainbow Springs, our town, and our water.) I tried to arrange a meeting to have state personnel address these concerns with me, but the Florida Office of General Counsel instructed personnel not to discuss Sabal Trail with me. Therefore, if Sabal Trail pipeline is built through these sinkholes and in close proximity to the karst window along the Sabal Trail route in Marion County, and if/when there is an incident (sinkhole, rupture, leak, explosion, etc.), the responsibility will lie with the PSC and other agencies who approved this pipeline, in addition to Sabal Trail, LLC.
It does not go unnoticed by the general public that Sabal Trail is an LLC – a Limited Liability Company. I am not alone in feeling that our State and Federal governments have not done their due diligence and they have not served the interests of the public by approving (and even fast-tracking) the Sabal Trail pipeline.
Finally, please note that the citizens of the State of Florida (the “Sunshine State”) recently voted down the deceptive utility backed Amendment One, a mockery of a “solar” amendment. Floridians want to utilize that sunshine for power. We want competition, and freedom for our energy needs, and encouragement of microgrids and rooftop solar. The PSC is representing the energy industry in its decisions, which condone the taking of private and conservation lands by eminent domain for private corporations to profit.
The PSC is not representing the interest of the citizens of Florida. This is my complaint, and the PSC and other agencies will be held accountable by the citizens for the damages done by having approved Sabal Trail pipeline and the associated offshoot pipelines. I urge the PSC to reconsider their approval of Sabal Trail pipeline and find a way to #STOPSABALTRAIL.
The following information is taken from Wikipedia and Ballotpedia:
The Florida Public Service Commission (FPSC) regulates investor-owned electric, natural gas, water, and wastewater utilities. In the telecommunications industry, the FPSC facilitates competitive markets, has authority over intercarrier disputes, and oversees pay telephones, the federal Lifeline Assistance Program and Telecommunications Relay Service.
The Florida Public Service Commission consists of ﬁve members appointed by the Governor and conﬁrmed by the Senate. Commissioners serve four-year terms. One commissioner is a designated Chairman, elected by the Commission for a two-year term.
The commissioners are Chairman Julie I. Brown, Lisa Polak Edgar, Ronald A. Brisé, Art Graham, and Jimmy Patronis.
Though commissioners are ultimately appointed by the governor, they must first be nominated by the Public Service Commission Nominating Council, a body that consists of 12 members appointed by various parts of the state legislature. Six members are appointed by the Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives, three of whom must be sitting members of the House and one of whom must be a member of the minority party. The other six members of the council are appointed by the President of the Florida Senate, subject to similar restrictions regarding sitting members and the minority party.
The Public Service Commission Nominating Council must nominate three persons for each vacancy to be filled on the commission. The governor chooses a nominee, who must then be confirmed by a majority vote of the Florida Senate. Commissioners serve four-year terms.
The following is from an article that can be read at this link: Stop the Cap!
Nancy Argenziano has been a politician from Florida for many years. She was appointed to the commission by Gov. Crist, but served only two years and was not re-appointed, allegedly because she would not obey the directives of legislators who were puppets of the utility companies. She resigned in 2012, and here resignation speech is quite famous. There is a link to it , and also the letter to Crist below.
“I’ve never seen anything so corrupt as the PSC,” said Argenziano. “It’s the most corrupt place I have ever seen in my life, and that is someone coming from the House and Senate.”
Former PSC chairwoman Nancy Argenziano calls Florida’s current PSC corrupt. (Image: Saint Petersburg Blog)
Argenziano blames Republican Gov. Rick Scott and several pro-business legislators for the corruption. According to Argenziano, the pressure to cave to the utilities’ demands came almost immediately after she joined the agency.
“After the third month,” she said, “I was at the PSC, the threats came in from the legislature to do as they say. l’m not going to sit there as a puppet head for some legislator.”
Mike Fasano, the Pasco tax collector and a former state representative and senator, is also a critic of the PSC saying, “Unfortunately, the Public Service Commission and the Florida Legislature are bought and paid for by the utilities of Florida.”
Since the Scott Administration was voted into office, campaign contributions from electric utilities have flooded in to the point where Fasano believes the PSC now exists as a rubber stamp for the utilities.
“They can get away with it because they have paid for, they’ve bought and paid for the Florida Public Service Commission and the Florida Legislature and unfortunately the present governor,” said Fasano.
October 12, 2010
Resignation Speech, PSC Chairwoman Nancy Argenziano
,Florida Public Service Commission
Here she says: “A corruptible legislature is at the heart of the Public Service Commission’s dysfunction.”
Here are links to two more of many articles about Argenziano and the PSC:
Comments by OSFR historian Jim Tatum.
-A river is like a life: once taken, it cannot be brought back-
Commissioner Brisé Commissioner Edgar Chairman Brown Commissioner Graham Commissioner Patronis