LIVE OAK — Around a dozen Sabal Trail protesters have camped out near where the oil pipeline is scheduled to be laid at 199th Place and 197th Place near Interstate-10.

Gregory Payne is an organizer with American Indian Movement and said their goal is to slow down operations at the site.

“We are 100 percent peaceful, but if we can stop 10 men for one hour, that’s 10 man hours wasted,” Payne said.

He said that deadlines are incredibly important for large companies like Sabal, and by slowing them down, the protesters can cost the company money.

Their camp is located on a private owner’s land, Payne said. He said they are working on a lease agreement with the owner to camp there as long as they need.

“We’ll be here as long as it takes,” he said. “We’re here to tell the company that we’re going to stop them.”

Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson, with the Sierra Club, stopped by the protest early Monday morning. She has been one of the most active voices against the Sabal Trail pipeline.

“This company has been given free range to do anything they want,” Jipson said. “There’s no oversight at all.”

She mentioned that Sabal Trail was granted a permit from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission based on a Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) completed by the company. Many other protest groups have criticized the EIS as inaccurate and deceptive.

Along with the WWALS Watershed Coalition, Malwitz-Jipson has fought to have the Army Corps of Engineers do its own EIS with little success.

The protesters are working on growing their numbers and plan on staying at the encampment for as long as they can.

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