Pipeline accident risk in Florida springs heartland: go solar instead

Springs before pipelines, say board members of Our Santa Fe River in central Florida, and let’s get on with clean solar power.

Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson and Jim Tatum wrote for the Gainesville Sun 25 April 2014, Pipeline in springs heartland would be at risk for accidents,

Is another gas highway pipeline inevitable in our Florida springs heartland?

They quote FPL and note the unanimous October 2013 Florida Public Service Commission (FL PSC) approval of the Sabal Trail Transmission pipeline project, including FL PSC Commissioner Julie Brown saying, “The need for this project is indisputable at this time.” Then they dispute that need.

Actually no, we do not. Our ancestors did not have electricity, nor oil and they survived and thrived. That we are here today is proof. But we want power, and we will have it, and at what cost? Would we destroy our planet in order to have our automobiles, television sets and creature comforts? Would we suck our springs and rivers dry to make plastic and pollutants?

I am not sure that humankind could destroy the Earth, try as we might, but I am absolutely certain that we can and will destroy the treasures with which it now provides us —­ the clear waters, birds, insects, animals and wonders of nature. Drilling more wells, dumping more nitrates and other pollutants into the aquifer, killing wildlife, ripping up plants and trees and tearing up the earth to build 500 miles of pipeline to carry explosive poisons across our land, substances that we think we cannot live without — these are the steps we take to our destruction.

They list a few pipeline disasters and continue:

We could list more. We can listen to the promises of the mega-companies that it is safe and that they are taking all possible precautions — or we can avoid these problems and invest the $23 billion in alternative power sources while there is still time and while there is still water in the springs.

We must continue to develop wind, water and especially solar power, a renewable, sustainable, constant source that can provide more than the needs of the entire world, without destroying our planet. The sun shines upon every country in the world. Solar systems are low maintenance; they do not blow up and kill people and wildlife. They produce minimal pollutants, unlike fossil fuels.

They ask FERC again to at least move the pipeline off the fragile karst limestone of the Santa Fe River basin, and then conclude:

I would also hope that the decision makers, who choose the steps we take, consider the absolutely and totally inevitable switch from dirty fossil fuels to alternative sustainable Earth-friendly sources. Only for a very short time, we still have the opportunity to conserve our resources while continuing to enjoy our modern lifestyle.

Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson is president and Jim Tatum is a board member of Our Santa Fe River Inc., www.oursantaferiver.org.


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