Albert Einstein once said that “the world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything.” This philosophy can be applied to countless social and political issues and speaks of the dangers of apathy. Add to this situation a lack of information and our society is truly in danger, as companies like SPECTRA Energy not only count on our apathy, but will also try to hoodwink us.
The Sabal Trail Pipeline currently discussed in our community is really part of a larger story, a process known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. Fracking allows companies like Halliburton to free oil and gas trapped in geologic formations, but in a fashion that is extremely dangerous to our environment (especially groundwater aquifers) and human health. Exempt from the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act, fracking has created countless problems for communities from Pennsylvania to Texas, and may soon be coming to north Georgia.
The gas pipeline under discussion is literally a tentacle of this fracking industry. Now you must know that SPECTRA Energy, the company behind this project, has a recorded history of problems and environmental violations. Since 2006, SPECTRA Energy has made the headlines in a number of states with 21 incidents that have resulted in more than $8 million in property damage. Thus residents of Lowndes County have every reason to be alarmed.
Gas pipelines are not as safe as SPECTRA Energy would have us believe. Just a few weeks ago the explosion of a natural gas pipeline in Oklahoma made the headlines, and thankfully no one was hurt. Companies like SPECTRA Energy also will not hesitate to claim eminent domain, giving them the “right” to build a gas pipeline anywhere they want, with or without the consent of land owners. Add to this picture the likelihood that property values will be affected by the construction of a natural gas pipeline, and it is no surprise that landowners in Lowndes County and elsewhere are extremely concerned.
Dr. Michael G. Noll, President
Wiregrass Activists for Clean Energy (WACE)