The Sabal Trail Pipeline is similar to the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) that has garnered so much attention over the past year. DAPL will transport oil and the Sabal Palm pipeline is going to transport natural gas.
In North Dakota, Energy Transfer Partners’ pipeline was initially going to be constructed on land that ran through a predominantly white community. Because pipelines often contaminate water and they explode often, that community fought back and Energy Transfer Partners moved their construction to Treaty land, which is land occupied and owned by Native Americans. The Army Corp of Engineers OK’d the permit for both the North Dakota Pipeline and the Sabal Trail Pipeline.
The Sabal Trail Pipeline’s purpose is the same as the DAPL and that is to get oil or natural gas from one place to another. The problem is, communities that sit atop that pipeline do not want their water and environment threatened by the oil and the process. The Sabal Trail pipeline runs through Georgia and Alabama and the bulk of it runs through Florida spanning 260+ miles in the state alone. It crosses Reedy Creek near Disney and runs along the southern end of Lake Kissimmee.
The Sabal Trail Pipeline is a project spearheaded by Florida Power and Light (FPL) which is the parent company to NextEra, Duke and Spectra Energy. Set to carry a billion cubic feet per day of gas, this pipeline is meeting resistance head on by some community leaders.
Last year, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a certificate of public convenience and necessity for the project. The approval and the project itself sparked protests and reform.
Opposers believe the pipeline is not a necessity in Florida and our state should rely more on solar-generated energy.
Adam Woodhall, President-elect of the Central Florida Progressive Caucus, drafted and presented a Resolution that would call for the elected officials and residents to take part in stopping the pipeline. Woodhall’s resolution was passed by Democrats last Thursday night in Orlando when both the Osceola county and Orange County Democratic Executive Committees voted in favor of the Resolution. Moving toward stopping the pipeline is a big step to protect the environment. Woodhall said, “I wanted to bring to light, to local residents, the dangers of having a pipeline run through their back yards.”
Shortly following the victory, a supporter of the Resolution, Ansh Grover posted on social media, “Tonight, Orange County DEC joined Orange County in passing the resolution to #StopSabal (Pipeline) and take a strong stance to pressure our elected leaders across the state and #divest from those special interests that continue to threaten our clean water, our environment and keep us back in time.”
Unfortunately, construction has already started and some parts of the pipeline is already completed. According to a statement released by Spectra Energy, the project is expected to be operational by May of this year.
But, if it isn’t completed on time, the company could lose a $200 million bond.
State Commiteewoman Sama Nuzuma (D) said, “I will be taking rigorous actions to create more awareness in my community. It’s right in my backyard and I am very concerned for its harmful affects. I will be knocking on all of our elected official’s doors for it to stop. They have already started the construction, but I do believe that it’s never too late to stand for what’s right!”
Osceola county resident, Aimee Imami said, “We support the resolution because this pipeline is extremely harmful to the environment and the future of us and our children.”
Imami added, “This resolution is important to the community because being against the construction of this pipeline stands for protecting the water and the earth. It is being constructed near our precious bodies of water in the north of Florida and has the potential to impact our Florida aquifer. Here in Osceola county, it is built next to schools and communities. There are 3 compressor stations being built in Osceola county alone which can cause nose bleeds and other harmful heath effects as well as air pollution. The fracking involved in this will cause our porous Florida land which is already prone to sinkholes to only get worse and has the potential to cause earthquakes. We need being so energy dependent on oil and natural gas and go solar in this Sunshine state. This natural gas pipeline is not even for our benefit. It is for overseas consumption. We need to stop these pipelines now before it’s too late for our Earth and lives.”
Sen. Dana Young (R) Tampa, filed a bill (SB 442) with bipartisan support, banning all fracking in the state of Florida. This bill will be considered during the legislative session that starts on March 7th. If passed, it could have an impact on the construction of the Sabal Trail Pipeline.
Currently, Woodhall’s resolution is up for a vote in the Miami-Dade DEC as well.
Woodhall added, “It doesn’t bring jobs. It doesn’t bring money into the local economy. It destroys the environment for the sake of profits, over the health of the people. The absolute last thing I want to happen was Central Florida becoming the next Flint, Michigan. I did not want it to be ‘our turn’ to participate in an environmental disaster. “