A 3.2 billion dollar pipeline has begun construction in the Sunshine State. The controversial line is set to go from Florida to Alabama running an estimated 474 miles, and will be able to move up to 1 billion cubic feet of natural gas a day upon completion.
With environmental impacts heavy on their minds Floridians are already hurling sharp criticisms at Governor Rick Scott’s full throated endorsement of the project. Ground water advocates have been quick to point out their concern for the natural aquifer that runs beneath their state.
Protesters gathered on the Rainbow River in Dunnellon, Florida, an area that owes much of it’s economic security to tourism related to the nearby head springs. They were well received with motorist honking and waving their support. Local organizer Robyn Hawkins Dodd did not mince words.
“The pipeline is extremely dangerous going across such vast topography and stands to impact our delicate limestone aquifer. It isn’t a matter of if we will have a sinkhole, it is a a matter of when. A dangerous pipeline is set to be running by homes and schools and the government is seizing property for it through eminent domain. It isn’t right.”
Citizens remain on edge after a sinkhole in Polk county opened up under a fertilizer runoff pond owned by Mosaic, a Fortune 500 company based in Minnesota. The incident poured an estimated 215 million gallons of contaminated water into the Florida aquifer.
The Sabal Trail Pipeline will undoubtedly also have an environmental impact. Leaks are a well known concern in pipeline construction and come with their own slew of hazards. Also, close to 700 acres of Florida wetlands are scheduled to be drained or impacted in such a way that could take up to 50 years for their ecosystems to recover. Additionally, drilling near the Suwannee and Santa Fe rivers may prove deep enough to effect groundwater and cave systems.
While federal reports have stated a concern for increasing sinkhole development, alterations in springs characteristics and local groundwater flow they still gave the go ahead on construction.
Protesters plan a demonstration in Ocala’s downtown main square on October 1st. Also, a four day car caravan is planned to start on October 21st starting in Stuart, Fl and moving on through Ft. Meyers and up to the Live Oak area. Demonstrators intend to bring water samples with them to Tallahassee on the 24-25th as schedules permit.
For more information on dates of future demonstrations please see the “Citrus Co No Pipeline” group on Facebook.