SRWMD listens about Sabal Trail easements, chooses unfortunately, yet offers assistance 2016-07-12

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7664100194 87543844c7 m In: SRWMD listens about Sabal Trail easements, chooses unfortunately, yet offers assistance 2016-07-12 | Our Santa Fe River, Inc. (OSFR) | Protecting the Santa Fe River

The following article came to our website from WWALS:Scroll

On July 14, 2016 at 01:42PM, Deanna Mericle at WWALS Watershed Coalition published the following article:

Attached are my comments to the SRWMD Governing Board today

(July 12th 2016)

in regards to the Sabal Trail crossing site over the Falmouth Cathedral Cave System, I was the first to speak at the public comment period followed by Jim Tatum then Merrillee. Jim and Merrillee echoed my concerns. The three of us set the tone for the meeting! The Board was interested and engaged asking questions to better understand what impacts Sabal Trail poses for the cave system and the District. About Time!

srwmd julyd 12MMJ In: SRWMD listens about Sabal Trail easements, chooses unfortunately, yet offers assistance 2016-07-12 | Our Santa Fe River, Inc. (OSFR) | Protecting the Santa Fe River

Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson of Sierra Club Florida speaking to SRWMD 2016-07-12.  Photo credit: Our Santa Fe River

Executive Director, Noah Valenstein offered to personally call the ACE to request that they answer our letters asking for further evaluation. He also will make sure the the Corps has all the information the District has with regards to the pipeline route.

Unfortunately, after a lengthy discussion and comments from Merrillee, myself and Sabal’s Lawyer the Board voted to settle with Sabal on the easement.

Governing Board Member Virginia Johns made a point to come up to me and thank me for attending and for my comments and input. She was very interested in the Sabal Trail project and asked a lot of good questions during the meeting. I will follow up with her to make sure all her questions are answered.


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See also:

  • John S. Quarterman, President, WWALS Watershed Coalition to USACE, GA-EPD, and FERC 2016-07-08,Two new reasons for a USACE Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement and a halt to Sabal Trail permits
  • John S. Quarterman, President, WWALS Watershed Coalition to SRWMD 2016-07-11,Sabal Trail and Falmouth Cathedral Cave System
  • Jim Tatum, Our Santa Fe River, 2016-07-12,Hefty Topics Brought Out at SRWMD Meeting

Comments of Christopher J. Mericle to SRWMD Re: Sabal Trail 2016-07-12

Hello, my name is Chris Mericle. I am a resident of Hamilton County

and a board member of WWALS Watershed Coalition. I saw that there is

a presentation on the Falmouth cathedral cave system on the agenda

and thought this would be a good opportunity to share with you

geology reports and other information about the Falmouth Cathedral

cave system.

As many of you may be aware the Sabal Trail natural gas pipeline is

U.S. 90 and the CSX railroad at the same location.


99623c971c8dfd13317af6456dd09d3c In: SRWMD listens about Sabal Trail easements, chooses unfortunately, yet offers assistance 2016-07-12 | Our Santa Fe River, Inc. (OSFR) | Protecting the Santa Fe River

I have here two geology reports, both by Florida certified Geologists

with extensive experience in Florida. Both of these reports show

that the Sabal Trail pipeline is a real threat to the Falmouth

Cathedral Cave system. The reports are written  by Southeast Environmental Geology- Dennis Price and

Schreuder inc.- Peter Schreuder.

I encourage you to take the time to read these reports.

When asked what specific tests Sabal Trail performed to determine the exact location and depth of the cave system, Sabal Trail replied, ” a file was obtained from the FDEP’s GIS library containing location and elevation data for the cave system.” So, no tests were in fact performed! Sabal went on to say “… it is not

completely clear what the elevation data represents…” Sabal trail did not even know how to interpret data from the 1file they evaluated.

Additionally, Sabal trail has omitted information about Falmouth Spring and Lime Run Spring from the record. Both of these are 1st magnitude springs and Sabal fails to include them on their springs

table. The springs table shows that the closest 1st magnitude spring to the proposed pipeline is Madison Blue at 1.7 miles. When in fact both Falmouth and Lime run springs are closer, lime run is only .46 miles from the proposed pipeline.

Also, there is no mention that the cave system is the known conduit for these two springs as well as 3 other springs in the area. Your own dye test two years ago confirmed this. I am fairly certain that

no one in this room would stand for a 36″ gas pipeline to be installed a few feet away from a 1st mag. Spring. But, that is essentially what Sabal trail is proposing to do by crossing so close to the cave system. Any impacts on the cave system/ spring conduit will have a direct impact on the springs it feeds.

Sabal trail also omits sinkhole information in their karst features

within .25 miles of the center of the pipeline table. For example,

there is a huge active sinkhole very near the proposed pipeline

route and the Falmouth cave system that is no where to be found in

the table. This sinkhole can be seen from Hwy 90 next to Pilgrims


In light of these two reports that warn us of the negative impacts

that this pipeline will have on the cave system and the springs and

the totally inadequate survey that Sabal performed, I would like to

ask that this board join WWALS Watershed coalition, Sierra Club,

Environment Florida, Gulf Restoration Network, the Original

Seminollee Mickasucee Tribe, Hamilton co. BOCC, Suwannee co BOCC,

Marion Co BOCC and US Congressman Sanford Bishop GA and many other

organizations and citizens in asking the USACE to further evaluate

the Falmouth Cathedral Cave system proposed crossing site and

initiate a SEIS.

Thank you for your consideration


You can join this fun and work by becoming a WWALS member today!

Read this article at WWALS Watershed Coalition at

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