In issuing the Environmental Resource Permit and Easement to use Sovereign Submerged lands for Sabal Trail pipeline project, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection has apparently relied heavily on the information provided by Sabal Trail and has rubber-stamped Sabal Trail’s permit approval.
Just as disturbing is the Suwannee River Water Management District’s inability to meet its statutory responsibility to protect the District’s water supply, water quality and natural systems.
In an April 18, 2014 memorandum to FERC, SRWMD geologist Carlos Herd and hydrogeologist Dale Jenkins essentially recommended that the pipeline project avoid karst limestone, areas with unconfined aquifer, caves, springs, wetlands, drilling under rivers, blasting, and using District groundwater for testing then disposing of the water afterwards. However, when called to testify Wednesday at the WWALS Watershed Coalition hearing, neither man seemed to recall any details about the memorandum that they co-authored.
Did these professionals neglect to review the memorandum prior to testifying, or were they muted by pressure from Tallahassee, where politics now trump established science? How can the DEP and SRWMD possibly be serving the best interests of the people of Florida in such a politicized climate?