The proposed Sabal Trail Pipeline could potentially come through a portion of Dougherty County. (Special illustration)
ALBANY — The proposed 465-mile Sabal Trail Pipeline that would be used to send as much as a billion cubic feet of natural gas per day from a site in south-central Alabama to central Florida may indeed be finished by its targeted May 2017 date.
But if a determined and growing list of landowners in Georgia, Florida and Alabama have a say in the matter, no Spectra Energy-financed shovelful of earth will ever be turned.
A grassroots group calling itself Spectrabusters has grown from common concern over issues surrounding the Sabal Trail Pipeline, and the group clearly states its platform on the spectrabusters.org website: “This site is dedicated to sharing information about the pipeline and working with people from across the area to make sure this unnecessary pipeline is never built.”
The spectrabusters.org website is a clearinghouse site for all issues surrounding the proposed Sabal Trail Pipeline that would supply natural gas for energy conversion by Florida Power & Light Co. Most of the concerns center around the environmental and economic impact the pipeline would have on property in Georgia and Alabama and the safety record of Spectra Energy.
Tim Bland of Valdosta captured the spirit of the Spectrabusters group with in impassioned essay posted on the site. In it Bland writes that he’s being asked to grant a 100-foot easement in the middle of timber land that will become useless once Spectra starts work on the pipeline.
“They seem fond of reminding us that they have the rights to imminent domain and that if we do not cooperate they will just take our land,” Bland wrote in the essay.
The website also offers news and pertinent information related to the Sabal Trail project, such as a showing of the anti-fracking documentary “Gasland,” which will be shown at Valdosta State University’s Bailey Science Center Thursday at 7 p.m., and information about a New Jersey lawsuit filed against Spectra that may impact construction of the Alabama-Georgia-Florida pipeline.
A Florida surveyor in Albany this week to begin work on the pipeline said, “There’s generally this kind of uproar when we work on a project, and even after we get through with the work the company often doesn’t even use the pathway that we survey.”
A member of Spectrabusters, who asked that his/her name not be published, said he/she is still refusing to cooperate with Spectra representatives even as the threat of imminent domain proceedings mount.
“They send me letters, and they call, but I still say no,” the anti-pipeline activist said. “They haven’t explained to my satisfaction how this pipeline will impact my property, and until I’m satisfied that it’s completely safe, I will continue to say no.
“It’s starting to seem like we’re losing our rights that the Constitution guarantees us, but as of right now, we as Americans still have the right to say no.”