Published: March 3, 2017

    Florida Pipeline Protests Increase as Construction Moves Forward

    Public outcry continues to increase in north Florida, and dissenters around the state grow in number as drilling for the Sabal Trail Pipeline moves forward. The proposed natural gas pipeline will be 515 miles in length, and will require tunnels underneath sensitive wetlands, forests, ranches, and multiple lakes and rivers. In addition, a portion of the pipeline would be situated directly above the Floridian Aquifer, which serves as the drinking source for millions of Floridians.

    A leak or similar disaster could taint the entire aquifer beyond repair, essentially killing the water supply for hundreds of thousands of homes. One of the most visible opponents of the pipeline is John Quarterman, who is the President of the WWALS Watershed Coalition and a Suwanee Riverkeeper. Quarterman maintains that his group has already located numerous areas where drilling for the pipeline has created dangerous sinkholes that could damage the ecosystem.

    The consortium funding the pipeline, however, insists that the proper safety measures are in place. The energy company argues that, once the pipeline is successfully completed, natural gas will be more affordable across the state. They also argue that construction and maintenance of the pipeline itself will create needed jobs in the area.

    The protests against the pipeline have increased in number since the pipeline was announced. Last month, eight protesters were arrested in the Live Oak area. In response to the arrests and the protests themselves, the hashtag #StopSabalTrail began trending across social media. Recently, a small group of protesters held a silent vigil right by the Suwanee River to give a face to the opposition. More and more Floridians are speaking out online against the pipeline in light of its potential risks to drinking water and the environment.

    Quarterman asserts that there is a much smarter alternative that could bring energy to the state without causing ecological problems. “Solar power is now cheaper than any other source of power, does not require eminent domain, taking people’s land,” Quarterman says. “[It] does not require any water for testing, cooling or anything like that.”

    Recently, our President’s executive orders supporting the Dakota Access Pipeline and the Keystone XL pipeline stated that the support came in part because of the projects’ potential economic impact. Again, Quarterman states that clean energy has the better potential to create long-lasting jobs. “Any president who’s concerned about energy independence or the economy of this country ought to get off of pipelines and get us on to solar power and wind power, as quickly as possible,” he emphasizes.

    Numerous legal attempts to block the Sabal Trail Pipeline have not been successful. With the pipeline expected to be completed this summer, it’s important to inform yourself of the risks before it’s too late. More than 640 oil and gas spills occurred in the United States in 2015 that directly affected surface water or groundwater. A leak could contaminate your drinking water with salt, oil, metals, and even a level of radiation.

    In order to protect your family from the health hazards associated with gas and oil spills, outfit your home with a proper filtration system before it’s too late. The Whole House Filter with UV will treat your water with a number of filters and stages to make your drinking water and shower water safe, pure, and refreshing. If you’re looking for a drinking filter, the NSF-certified 6-Stage Reverse Osmosis system is one of the best water filters on the market.