Sabal Trail Pipeline 101

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The Sabal Trail Pipeline is a 515-mile proposed venture that would bring over one billion cubic feet of fracked gas per day from AL, through GA, and into FL through a 36-inch wide pipe. This action would make Florida prisoner to dirty energy for the next 50 years, as opposed to moving in the right direction by investing in clean, renewable energy. The pipeline is a project on behalf of Sabal Trail Transmissions, LLC composed of Spectra Energy (Enbridge) and was requested in part by Florida Power & Light and Duke Energy Florida on the basis that the state needed additional natural gas and transportation method. The pipeline is nearly 90% finished and will be entering central Florida in the near future.

The Sabal Trail Pipeline is a cause for concern to the citizens of Florida for several reasons. First, Florida Power & Light’s initial request for additional fuel is unwarranted as they point out in their own 10-year plan, citing that the need for additional fuel is not necessary until 2024. The pipeline should also not have been approved in the first place due to flaws and inaccuracies identified within the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) environmental impact statement. On top of the fact that Spectra Energy, one of the pipeline owners, has a well-documented history of pipeline incidents, the path of the pipeline proposes to go through sinkhole-prone karst topography, a landscape unique to Florida and connected directly to the Floridian Aquifer, one of the largest freshwater sources of drinking water in the world. 

From an economic standpoint, communities of low socioeconomic status would be the most impacted as they do not have the resources to combat grievances related to noise pollution and such from the compressor stations that run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Furthermore, many of the jobs that would be created from this project would either be outsourced, or not likely last beyond the construction period that will be ending later this year.

ReThink Energy Florida has been at the forefront of this fight educating as many citizens as possible to the risks proposed by the Sabal Trail Pipeline, and engaging with our elected officials to speak out and take action against the pipeline. For instance, Senator Bill Nelson has spoken out against pipelines in the past, such as the Keystone XL, but has so far refused to make a statement against the Sabal Trail Pipeline. Our goal is to educate and engage elected leaders, from city council members to Senator Nelson, to speak out against the pipeline and urge FERC and the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers to revise their environmental impact statement. Meanwhile, our campaign is working with other groups around the state to develop a plan on encouraging divestment from banks that have financially supported the Sabal Trail pipeline.

We will continue working with community members and organizations to fight the pipeline before it’s too late. If you would like to help, consider speaking with your local city and county commissioners and councilpersons to educate them on the Sabal Trail Pipeline, and ask them to take action to keep their community safe from the many environmental and economic risks posed in their town.