Martin County Public Hearing on Pipelines

Spectra Energy Corp., a Fortune 500 company based in Houston, Texas , builds and operates more than 22,00 miles of natural gas, natural gas liquids and crude oil pipelines throughout the U.S. and Canada. In Florida one pipeline project called the Sabal Trail originates in Tallapona County, Alabama, extends through Georgia and will end in central Florida near Orlando at accost of $36 billion. Most recently according to Chris Merick, of the WWALS Watershed Coalition, a leak along the Sabal Trail pipeline in Georgia was reported. This same pipeline will also run under the Suwannee and Santa Fe Rivers in Florida.

In a move to protect Floridians and our environment on January 24 the Martin County Florida Board of County Commissions will conduct a public hearing to consider adoption of an ordinance regarding the prohibition of high pressure well stimulation for the purpose of exploration and production for oil and gas (known as fracking) and storage and disposal of associated fracking waste. Other cities and towns have passed such ordinances. In Monroe Township, New Jersey the town council passed a resolution that no fracked materials could be transported on trains or trucks through Monroe Township.

The dangers are great and the potential for tragedies are enormous. It should be noted that in Florida there is a pattern of limestone bedrock known as Karst geology where water gradually washes away porous rock. This process leads to sinkholes so water management officials have questioned whether underground drilling for a pipeline could create even more problems. Spectra Energy has a very poor safety record because of pipeline ruptures. In Alabama it resulted in $! million in damages. Canada’s National Energy Board fined Spectra Energy for violations at the Dawson Creek gas plant in British Columbia. In Texas a break in the pipeline caused soil contamination, fires and human injuries. Several pipeline ruptures and resulting disasters have been reported along the 745 mile Gulfstream National gas pipeline from the Gulf of Mexico to lower Mississippi, to Alabama and on to Tampa Bay. In New York Spectra Energy is attempting to pull a 42 inch diameter pipe through a hole under the Hudson River to complete the AIM (Algonquin Incremental Market) pipeline upgrade. The new section of this natural gas pipeline passed next to two seismic fault lines and is only 105 feet from critical infrastructure at Indian Point, an aging and failing nuclear plant facility. A leading nuclear power safety expert, Paul Blanch stated “It is my expert opinion that once gas is introduced into the AIM pipeline there will be grave and imminent danger to the surrounding area and residents. The blast radius from a gas line rupture would likely encompass the entire Indian Point site, disabling all vital equipment required to prevent core damage and major radioactive releases to the environment.” 20 million people including all of N.Y.C. are within a 50 mile radius of Indian Point. Yet in spite of the extreme danger no state or federal agency has been willing to revoke the permits for this project.

President Drumpf has personal investments in the Dakota Access Pipeline and has formally announced his support of the project. In our own state of Florida it should be noted that Governor Rick Scott is one of the investors in Spectra Energy. Also the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved the AIM project when “Spectra Energy presented the project in three parts in order to circumvent the law. The reason for this is five commissioners are from the fossil fuel industry and all FERC’s funding comes from industry application fees.

It is imperative that people write to your senators and assemblymen to stop the extension of pipelines in Florida.