There’s a lot happening in the world today, and some people avoid watching the news because of all the negative reports being presented. Sadly, there is a lot going on that simply cannot be avoided, and watching the news is important in keeping the public informed.

One news story that is waking the community up is the Sabal Trail Pipeline. This past weekend, protesters, or “Water Protectors,” marched in the Suwannee River State Park to fight against the controversial project, causing it to be called a “massive civil protest.”

Sabal

The Sabal Trail Pipeline is a 515-mile-long interstate gas pipeline that will run from Central Alabama through Southwestern Georgia, diving deep into Central Florida. It is advocated by Spectra, a fossil fuel corporation that is responsible for other controversial pipelines currently under construction, who say it will aid in economic development and is expected to fuel gas-fired power generators in the Southeast U.S. The $3.2 billion project is being funded by Duke Energy, Nextera Energy and Spectra.

Suwanee

So, what’s the reason for all the controversy? Well, the pipeline is cutting through the Suwannee River State Park and will be threatening state-protected wildlife and various vital water sources throughout Central Florida.

In 2016, The Florida Legislature Office of Economic and Demographic Research projected that Florida will breach the 20 million population milestone, which will lead to an increase in energy usage. Research states that while oil pipelines may not be the cleanest solution, they typically have fewer accidents than other power alternatives and could power our state population better than some current energy sources. However, if an accident were to happen (and boy have they), the impact will be far more harmful to the public and nature in the pipeline area.

Karst, a porous limestone bedrock that lays under the Southeastern U.S., lets water flow through its pores through underground caves and bubbles up freshwater springs when under pressure. Due to the construction creating large voids, it is prone to creating sinkholes. Some sinkholes could be small … while others can be big enough to swallow large buildings.

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Pipeline leaks could be devastating to the rich plant and animal life found along Sabal’s trail.

Protesters are rallying together just like those in the Sioux Standing Rock Reservation, who are fighting against the Dakota Access Pipeline. The Water Protectors are taking a peaceful approach to stop the construction from proceeding, and they aim to educate the public and seek out a different way for a better and cleaner future. Past protests were held in places like Miami and Jacksonville. Now, they are rallying in Orlando and Live Oak, where eight people were arrested the weekend of Jan. 14-15.