Please zoom in or out and select the base layer according to your preference to make the map ready for printing, then press the Print button above.

Sabal Trail Pipeline from Alabama to Florida, United States


Description:

In 2011 the Florida Power and Light Company commissioned NextEra Energy, Spectra Energy and Duke Energy to construct a 515-mile natural gas pipeline originating in Alabama and traversing Georgia before terminating in Florida (Edelstein, 2016). The pipeline is intended to service the gas needs of the central Floridian population. Construction began in 2016, and although originally estimated to be completed in 2017, is now set to be finished in 2021. They have received approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, as well as the Environmental Protection Agencies from the affected states to continue construction amid protests, as the states value the potential benefits of construction in terms of economic growth and job creation. 

 There are numerous environmental issues associated with this project. To begin with, the pipeline is constructed on notoriously unstable ground, a result of the karst bedrock present in Georgia and Florida, which makes the area prone to sinkholes. The ground’s instability could lead to the emergence of a sinkhole near the pipeline and the related damage to the pipeline could then contaminate groundwater and the Florida aquifer, which provides drinking water for almost 10 million people (Adgie, 2015). The destruction of native animals’ (crocodiles, turtles) habitats, contamination of the air, and infection of groundwater used in agriculture are also possible. Residents who live along the pipeline have growing concerns, and many live in minority communities (Lipscomp, 2017). A compressor which would aid in stabilization of the pipeline was proposed to be built in an African-American community in Georgia which would be a source of constant noise and vibration; thus, being a detriment to an already disadvantaged area, rather than an asset (Bluestein, 2015), in a case of what is known as "environmental racism" in the US environmental justice movement.

In 2014, community members and members of the Wiregrass Activists for Clean Energy marched to the Sabal Trail office, raising concerns of eminent domain, as Sabal Trail wished to route the pipeline through private family farms (Adgie, 2014). In Florida local civilians gathered at the Sacred Waters and Crystal Waters camps in efforts to stop or at least delay construction. A coalition of opposition, formed by the Sierra Club, the Gulf Restoration Network and the Flint Riverkeeper had unsuccessfully lodged a lawsuit against the issuance of the Federal construction permits granted for the project (Edelstein, 2016). In Florida the WAALS Watershed Coalition, Inc., who carry out conservation efforts in northern Florida, also tried to take legal action, although their case was dismissed (Patterson, 2016). Comparisons have been made between the Sabal Trail Pipeline and the Dakota Access Pipeline. The Sabal Trail Pipeline does not traverse directly through Native American lands; however, the Seminole Tribe of North Florida  opened protest camps along the pipeline’s route and other indigenous tribes believe that the pipeline will have negative impacts on culturally sensitive lands (Luscombe, 2017). Although construction continues on the pipeline, civilians have been successful in causing delays in its finalization.

Basic Data

Name of conflict:Sabal Trail Pipeline from Alabama to Florida, United States
Country:United States of America
State or province:Florida, Georgia and Alabama
Location of conflict:Suwannee River
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)

Source of Conflict

Type of conflict. 1st level:Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Oil and gas exploration and extraction
Land acquisition conflicts
Transport infrastructure networks (roads, railways, hydroways, canals and pipelines)
Shale gas fracking
Specific commodities:Land
Natural Gas
Water

Project Details and Actors

Project details

The pipeline transports 830,000 Dth/day. (A dekatherm (dth) is a unit of energy used primarily to measure natural gas. It is equal to 10 therms or 1,000,000 British thermal units or 1.055 GJ. It is also approximately equal to one thousand cubic feet (Mcf) of natural gas). (Wikipedia).

The pipeline is 515 miles long.

Level of Investment:3,200,000,000
Type of populationSemi-urban
Affected Population:Residents of Alabama, Georgia, and Florida
Start of the conflict:01/09/2016
Company names or state enterprises:Duke Energy from United States of America
NextEra Energy from United States of America
Spectra Energy Corp from United States of America
Florida Power and Light Company from United States of America
Sabal Trail Transmission, LLC from United States of America
Relevant government actors:United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Georgia's Environmental Protection Division
Florida's Department of Environmental Protection
Suwannee River Water Management District
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Sierra Club (https://www.sierraclub.org/)
WWALS Watershed Coalition (http://www.wwals.net/)
Seminole Tribe of North Florida (https://www.semtribe.com/)
Council of the Original Miccosukee Simanolee Nation Aboriginal Peoples
Wiregrass Activist for Clean Energy
Gulf Restoration Network (https://www.healthygulf.org/)
Flint Riverkeeper (http://flintriverkeeper.org/)

Conflict & Mobilization

IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Indigenous groups or traditional communities
International ejos
Local ejos
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of mobilization:Land occupation
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Street protest/marches
Property damage/arson
Arguments for the rights of mother nature

Impacts

Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution
Potential: Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Waste overflow, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity)
Health ImpactsPotential: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…)
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place

Outcome

Project StatusUnder construction
Conflict outcome / response:Criminalization of activists
Court decision (failure for environmental justice)
Project temporarily suspended
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:No, because the project is still ongoing.

Sources & Materials

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

Sabal Pipeline Official Site
http://www.sabaltrailtransmission.com/

Adgie, Joe. (22 Oct. 2014). “Residents Protest Sabal Trail.” Valdosta Daily Times. Valdosta, GA. http://www.valdostadailytimes.com/news/local_news/residents-protests-sabal-trail/article_13bb8c22-59a2-11e4-8568-4bc4f8e58d1d.html. (Accessed on 22.03.2018).



Adgie, Joe. (27 Oct. 2015). “EPA Demands Sabal Redirect From Florida Aquifer.” Valdosta Daily Times. Valdosta, GA. http://www.valdostadailytimes.com/news/local_news/epa-demands-sabal-redirect-from-floridan-aquifer/article_3b1df28e-6794-5b75-a7d8-6c388d1d57c7.html. (Accessed on 22.03.2018).



Bluestein, Greg. (27 Oct. 2015). “Feds Deliver Blow to Proposed Sabal Trail Pipeline Running through Georgia.” Politically Georgia. https://politics.myajc.com/blog/politics/feds-deliver-blow-proposed-sabal-trail-pipeline-running-through-georgia/sodORfuXdvPcbd6xqJT7qO/. (Accessed on 22.03.2018).



Edelstein, Karen. (29 Nov. 2016) “The Sabal Trail Pipeline: A Sinking Feeling.” Fracttracker Alliance. https://www.fractracker.org/2016/11/sabal-trail-pipeline/. (Accessed on 22.03.2018).



Lipscomb, Jessica. (7 Mar. 2017). “Sabal Trail Pipeline will be an Envionrmental and Economic Disaster, Critics Warn” Miami New Times. Miami, FL. http://www.miaminewtimes.com/news/sabal-trail-pipeline-will-be-an-environmental-and-economic-disaster-critics-warn-9188468. (Accessed on 22.03.2018).



Luscombe, Richard. (24 Jan. 2017). “Why a Protest Camp in Florida is Being Called the next Standing Rock.” The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jan/24/sabal-trail-pipeline-florida-next-standing-rock-controversy-suwannee-river. (Accessed on 22.03.2018).



Patterson, Steve. (14 Nov. 2016). “Gas Pipeline Project Headed to Suwannee River Leads into Georgia Waterway; Sparks Environmental Worries.” The Florida Times Union. Jacksonville, FL. http://www.jacksonville.com/news/2016-11-14/gas-pipeline-project-headed-suwannee-river-leaks-georgia-waterway-sparks. (Accessed on 22.03.2018).

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Miami New Times. Stinky Leaks From Florida's Controversial Sabal Trail Pipeline Scares Residents. Jessica Lipscomb | August 17, 2017
http://www.miaminewtimes.com/news/floridas-controversial-sabal-trail-pipeline-is-already-leaking-odorant-9590389

Shutdown averted for Sabal Trail pipeline. Ellen M. Gilmer, E&E News reporter. Energywire: Thursday, March 8, 2018
https://www.eenews.net/stories/1060075779

Other documents

Map of pipeline
https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/Sabal_Trail_natural_gas_pipeline_1487682965887_55529978_ver1.0_640_480.jpg

Meta information

Contributor:Emilio Mattiuzzo ([email protected]) and Megan Asher ([email protected]) under the supervision of Gabriel Weber ([email protected]).
Last update23/04/2018

Images

 

Map of pipeline