Today Nov. 26, 2016, one more protest took place near the Hwy 129 bridge over the Santa Fe River. Protestors gathered at 6 am at the small park at the boat ramp where Hwy 129 crosses the Santa Fe River. From there some in kayaks and canoes paddled upstream a short distance where the pipe crosses under the river, and others went to 117th place on the south side of the river where the drilling takes place.
It is unclear if the drilling is complete at this crossing, as there appears to be a hole on the north side, but the noise, thought to be drilling, continues.
Activists arrived at 6:00 am to rally together to protest the pipeline that is currently headed under the river. The Texas based Spectra Co. does not understand the land through which it plows, nor does it respect the fragility of the springs area. The company had workers onsite and there were those who were there to intimidate protesters by taking photographs and taking license tag information. Those who had been arrested in an earlier protest were sent away for fear that they would be rearrested. It was a passionate but law abiding group whose only mission was to educate and protect Florida waters we all need for our way of life.
One group went to the south side of the river for a little over an hour. Back to the boat ramp, more gathered and they went to view the north side. Law enforcement was heavy! State troopers, Gilchrist and Suwannee sheriffs, and FWC by boat patrol.
The group causing all the damage had heavy protection from Florida’s finest, four different agencies, land, sea, but no air. It is likely that choppers were waiting to be summoned.
No direct action, only peaceful protests. Action by Sacred Water Camp at Suwannee location did hold up trucks for a bit, but law enforcement threatened arrests. Lots from the Santa Fe group traveled up to help them. Caring people came from as far away as Tallahassee to make their feelings known.
Your historian was unable to attend the protest and is grateful to OSFR members Cindy Noel and Marihelen Wheeler for information and images.
Comments by OSFR historian Jim Tatum.
-A river is like a life: once taken, it cannot be brought back-