Sabal Trail pipeline protest

Two Valdosta State students protest against the Sabal Trail pipeline on Tuesday.

VALDOSTA — The Georgia Water Coalition has named the proposed Sabal Trail pipeline as one of its Dirty Dozen for 2014, which highlights “12 of   the worst offenses to Georgia’s waters,” according to the organization.

The pipeline is proposed to run under the Withlacoochee river, near Valdosta.

In a press release, the GWC cited the risk of contaminating southwest Georgia’s well water, rivers and streams, as well as noise and air pollution from a proposed compressor station situated near Albany.

The GWC also cited the possible dangers of the pipeline, citing two explosions in particular — a 2011 explosion in Alabama that torched 65 acres of forest, and a 1994 explosion on a Spectra Energy pipeline that ruined an apartment complex, leaving hundreds homeless.

Spectra Energy is a parent company of the Sabal Trail pipeline.

The GWC also cited the karst topography of the area, and the sinkholes that are common in karst lands.

“Sinkholes are increasingly common in the region and may cause pipeline leaks that could easily contaminate the underground aquifers that serve as the drinking water source for many rural residents,” the GWC stated in a press release.

According to the GWC, Spectra Energy and NextERA Energy, the other parent company of Sabal Trail, hope to file for approval for the project with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission later this year, and intend to begin construction by June 2016.

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