The huge protest on Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 14 and 15 brought out hundreds of people who objected to the risky drilling under the Suwannee River. Our Santa Fe River is a major sponsor of the most active local groups which organized the successful protest. Sabal Trail in Florida has turned into the DAPL of the South, as recognition and passion spreads. Vigilant observers have detected many violations of this negligent company which has run roughshod over public opposition, back by government agencies who ignore warnings by responsible citizens and local authorities.
Comments by OSFR historian Jim Tatum.
-A river is like a life: once taken, it cannot be brought back-
At least 8 arrested at pipeline sites
Posted Jan 16, 2017 at 8:33 PM Updated Jan 16, 2017 at 8:33 PM
At least eight Sabal Trail pipeline protesters were arrested Monday in Suwannee County at two construction sites.
Kaithleen Hernandez and Alexa Oropesa were arrested after strapping themselves via arm tubes (or lock boxes) under a truck, leading law enforcement to come out in force and remove the pair with power tools.
At least four others were arrested at the site – and another two at a separate site.
All but two of the eight arrested are members of Sacred Water Camp, a long-term encampment in Live Oak.
Several people documented the protest through Facebook Live on the group’s page. Videos show Suwannee County officers telling objectors to leave a site before making a wall of bodies and walking forward to push back scattered protesters far beyond Sabal Trail’s permitted property.
Suwannee County Sheriff’s Office officials would not answer questions regarding the arrests and deferred to Chief Deputy Ron Colvin. Colvin didn’t return calls as of Monday evening.
Edna Quillen, the landowner of the encampment base, said the six arrested were done so “unlawfully.”
Panagioti Tsolkas, also an opponent of the pipeline and former organizer with Earth First!, said the Monday protest was an expansion of Saturday’s demonstration, which brought out hundreds to the same site of Monday’s arrests. The weekend gathering also brought out about 70 law enforcement vehicles.
Tsolkas said the two that strapped themselves to a truck are charged with felony trespassing and will stay overnight to go before a judge Tuesday.
The Sabal Trail pipeline is a 515-mile, $3.2 billion endeavor, which will snake through Alabama, Georgia and Central Florida, while crossing more than 700 bodies of water along the way. The project is expected to transport about one billion cubic feet of natural gas to help provide electricity to Floridians across the state. Nearly two-thirds of Florida relies on natural gas for its electricity.