Pipeline protesters

The Sabal Trail Pipeline protesters outside Suwannee County Courthouse.

LIVE OAK — Charges against three Sabal Trail pipeline protesters who were scheduled to be tried in court this week were dropped by the state attorney’s office.

Jeff Siegmeister, state attorney for Florida’s third judicial circuit, said the decision was made for a couple of reasons.

“We made a decision to not give the protesters a platform and not waste the taxpayers money,” Siegmeister said. 

Steven Glazer, the protesters’ lawyer, said he was prepared to fight the case in court, but is happy the charges were dropped.

“Everybody was really ecstatic when they heard the news,” Glazer said. “They were happy they chose to fight the charges and take it to court.”

The three protesters’ names are Abigail Mills, Christopher Bermudez and Michael Tintner. The other three protesters arrested in mid-January have already been processed. 

The two protesters who locked themselves to the bottom of a Sabal Trail truck pled guilty. Another protester is currently under a pretrial intervention program, which is a diversion program available to some alleged felony offenders that, if successfully completed, results in a criminal charge being dismissed.

There are two other protesters charged with felony offenses for chaining themselves on pipeline property.

Earlier this year, around 500 protesters marched together near the Suwannee River State Park against the Sabal Trail natural gas pipeline that cuts through Suwannee County. The protesters were unable to prevent the pipeline, but said they feel they have made a difference.

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