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President Pam Smith Speaks for the River


Policy Director Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson

A crowd of around 50 people turned out at Lake City High School Thursday evening to request that representatives of FERC accept opinion and testimony regarding the imminent Sabal Trail pipeline.  About 16 people voiced strong opposition, some more than once, while two union representatives extolled the job opportunities it might bring.

VickiMachado FERC
Vicki Machado

Heart-rending testimony from affected landowners was expressed, and  oil worker Rocky Stewart of Corpus Christi  delivered dire warnings of the high risk involved when placing dangerous explosive substances in sinkhole-laden karst.

Risk of safety was emphasized by several speakers, as well as the fact that the pipeline was unnecessary and unwanted and would serve only to garner profits for its owners.  Nearly every speaker mentioned sinkholes, karst terrain and our vulnerable Floridan aquifer.

Among the most impressive testimony was a father who spoke of three families with 28 children residing within one half mile of the Hildreth Compressor Station, fearful of the air quality and disaster potential of the nearby explosive gas.

OSFR was well represented and several members spoke against the pipeline, including President Pam Smith, Policy Director Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson, Historian Jim Tatum, and members Sue Karcher, Laura Dailey, Harry Patterson, Billie Joe Benedict and Marihelen  Wheeler.

Other speakers were John Quarterman and Deanna and Chris Mericle of WWALS, Debra Johnson of Spectrabusters and Vicki Machado, very active in the Floridians Against Fracking Coalition and formerly of Food and Water Watch.  WWALS has successfully challenged the Florida DEP for a hearing which is slated to take place soon.

FERC Representative John Peconom, Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson, Laura Dailey, and Sue Karcher Discuss the Pipeline at the Meeting

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  1. Comments are still being accepted, even if you did not attend this meeting. According to John Peconom, FERC Project Manager, sent comments are equally important as a submission.
    Please take your time and say something meaningful for the environment that you live in or are very familiar with and direct concerns to the Draft Environmental Impact Study.
    This is about our properties, rivers, streams, springs, animals, communities, air, etc…
    ANYONE from anywhere can say something here, you do not have to live here to comment. If you know something about 36″ natural fracked gas transmission pipelines say it now.
    For people who want to comment but can’t attend a meeting there is this from the draft of the environmental impact study: “For your convenience, there are four methods you can use to submit your
    comments to the Commission. In all instances, please reference the appropriate docket
    numbers (CP14-554-000 for the FSC Project; CP15-16-000 for the Hillabee Expansion
    Project; or CP15-17-000 for the Sabal Trail Project) with your submission. The
    Commission encourages electronic filing of comments and has expert staff available to
    assist you at (202) 502-8258 or [email protected]. Please carefully follow these
    instructions so that your comments are properly recorded.
    1) You can file your comments electronically using the eComment feature on the Commission’s website ( under the link to Documents and Filings. This is an easy method for submitting brief, text-only comments on a project;
    2) You can file your comments electronically by using the eFiling feature on
    the Commission’s website ( under the link to Documents and
    Filings. With eFiling, you can provide comments in a variety of formats by attaching them as a file with your submission. New eFiling users must first create an account by clicking on “eRegister.” If you are filing a comment on a particular project, please select “Comment on a Filing” as the filing type; or
    3) You can file a paper copy of your comments by mailing them to the following address. Be sure to reference the project docket numbers (CP14-
    554-000, CP15-16-000, and CP15-17-000) with your submission:
    Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary
    Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
    888 First Street NE, Room 1A
    Washington, DC 20426

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