Local resident Chris Mericle asked his county commission to once again oppose the Sabal Trail fracked methane pipeline, this time by opposing a permit the Florida Department of Environmental Protection proposes to issue for Sabal Trail to bore under the Suwannee River and other sovereign submerged lands and wetlands of Florida.
This time, the Hamilton County Commission was not willing to undertake the expense of fighting this permit. One commissioner observed a potential settler in the county heard about the pipeline and declined to move in. They speculated FL-DEP must have had public hearings; actually no, DEP didn’t. They seemed unaware of the conflicts of interest involved. They also hoped somebody else, such as the Sierra Club, would oppose the permit. Sierra Club tells me they will not. However, WWALS Watershed Coalition did file a petition for a hearing; more on that later.
Thanks to Debra Johnson of Suwannee County for the video. Chris Mericle and I are board members of WWALS, and Debra Johnson is a member.
The Hamilton County Commission discussed the situation even though it wasn’t on their agenda, declaring it an emergency so they could do so, and taking 18 minutes on the topic. And they interacted with the citizen asking for the discussion. A bit of a contrast with the high-podium no-answer Lowndes County Commission on this same subject one week later, allowing 5 minutes to one citizen and making no response either in the meeting or after.
Here’s the video:
Hamilton County, FL Commission considers opposing FL-DEP Sabal Trail permit 2015-07-21
Video by Debra Johnson for Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange (LAKE),
Jasper, Hamilton County, Florida.