Tallahassee has its own "Dakota Access pipeline"

By Vivian El-Salawy on January 18, 2017

You may have heard of recent protests and arrests regarding a pipeline, especially within the local Tallahassee area – but perhaps this is the first time you have heard of this pipeline, its protestors, and what all of this really means.

What is the Sabal Trail Pipeline?

Image via Healthy Gulf

The Sabal Trail Pipeline is a methane gas pipeline that is currently pending in construction in the state of Florida. According to Sabal Trail Resistance page, it will include approximately 515 miles of interstate natural gas pipeline that will run through Alabama, Georgia, and Florida.

So, why is this an issue?

Image via Florida Department of Environmental Protection

This pipeline’s projected year of completion is 2021 and has been a long time investment in the fossil fuel industry. However, the pipeline runs through the Floridian Aquafer, which is the source of hundreds of springs, rivers, lakes, and streams. The Sabal Trail Resistance website expands on the potential damage of the pipeline, explaining that in its course, it has the potential to harm 1,958 wetland systems and interfere with approximately 100,000 square miles of area that provides drinking water to over 10 million people in areas such as Savanah, Brunswick, Orlando, Jacksonville, and Tallahassee.

What can you do?

Image via WWALS

WWALS has been fighting the hazardous Sabal Trail since its announcement in 2013.  WWALS Water Coalition advocate for “conservation and stewardship of the Withlacoochee, Willacoochee, Alapaha, Little, and Suwannee River watersheds in south Georgia and north Florida through education, awareness, environmental monitoring, and citizen activities”.

In addition, there are activists from across the country that have been inspired by the fight against the Dakota Access pipeline. However, this is different for many locals because it is plowing its way straight through the heart of the springs in many Floridian’s very own backyard. The website for Sabal Trail Resistance suggests “peaceful, but direct” resistance. Florida’s spring water is one of the largest sources of water within the area, and outside of protecting millions of peoples’ water sources, it’s about protecting the natural world and Florida’s environment as well.

WWALS provides a variety of sources for people and organizations that have joined the opposition in recent times. A few of these resources include the SpectraBusters Allies page and the Protect Florida Against Sabal Trail facebook page. Additionally, on WWALS’ site, there are a variety of helpful resources: a digitzed map of the Sabal Trail, legal hearings, geological reports, and a source for reporting potential violations in the construction of the pipeline which can be found here:

While the $3 billion Sabal Trail pipeline is considered to be Florida’s “Dakota Access pipeline”, many protesters must be reminded of how dangerous opposition can typically be.  Regardless of the stance on the matter – oppositions, resistances, and protests are encouraged to remain peaceful for the sake of the safety of both the resisters and the environment.

Vivian El-Salawy is a senior at Florida State University. She is currently pursuing a degree in Editing, Writing, and Media with minors in Slavic (Russian) Studies and Communications. Alongside writing for FSView & Florida Flambeau, WVFS Tallahassee 89.7 FM, and the Good Life Community magazine, she is a member of the World-Renowned Marching Chiefs and Seminole Sound.

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