A property owner in Citrus County says part of her land was scarred by Sabal Trail pipeline construction Wednesday. Kathy Lane lives on five acres about midway between Crystal River and Dunnellon in a rural development called Mini Farms. Lane says her property owners association sold an easement for construction of the pipeline, but it didn’t include her property. Still, her mailbox and part of her fence were destroyed Wednesday.
“The mailbox, the base of it is concrete, that was pushed aside and the mailbox was gone. There was track marks all over my front lawn from heavy equipment. So, of course, I lost it and I called the sheriff’s department and the officer–Lakatis was his name–said, ‘What do you want me to do?'”
On your private property? The people constructing Sabal Trail pipeline came and destroyed your mailbox and destroyed your fence?
“Fence. But, they’re saying they didn’t.”
Did you give them permission?
“I have an eminent domain attorney and he said they would not be coming on my property.”
Is there a trench or is it just cleared trees?
“Well, I had grass there, but, I don’t have grass there now. It’s the street and then you have to go down a little bit into my driveway. So it’s just as if somebody just took a bulldozer and plowed, like, my fence to where they wanted it to be. Does that make sense?
“Then the other fence, on the other side, is completely missing. It’s gone. Like, the fence is gone.
“And then the sheriff’s department; the police officer is like: ‘What did you do with your mailbox?’ Like I picked up a rod iron, 75-pound mailbox myself. I’m 5’1”.
“I said, ‘I didn’t take it. It’s gone!'”
Has the work resumed today?
“Yes! I posted videos this morning, on my Facebook. Trees are coming down. Yes. You have heavy equipment, but, today the heavy equipment–if you look at my Facebook page–it’s out in full force.
“They’re across the street from me and they’re right next door on my neighbor’s property. They’re drilling right down in the middle of his property. They paid him money.”
But, they didn’t pay you. Did they notify you?
“No. I’ve had an eminent domain attorney for 5 years. They said they would be a foot past the end of my driveway. Not on my property, ripping down my fence.”
Meanwhile, protests are continuing at several sites in Florida where additional construction of the Sabal Trail pipeline is occurring. Last weekend about 100 people took place in demonstrations in two actions along the pipeline trail, one at the Santa Fe River in Branford and another in Live Oak.
Marrillee Malwitz-Jipson is with the Sierra Club.
“Actions that were created through an ad hoc organizational effort of just citizens and organizations that wanted to stop Sabal Trail, this weekend in North Florida. The most eventful thing that happened is that people drove here to be a part of these actions from as far away as Ft. Lauderdale, to participate in the Sacred Water Camp activities.
“There were approximately 100 people, in two different actions, in North Florida along the pipeline trail. They’re trying to stop Sabal Trail Gas Transmission from putting a dangerous, destructive, pipeline into the karstic soils of North Florida and on top of the Floridan aquifer.
“The first action was in Branford at the Santa Fe River and another action was done later in the day at Live Oak.
“The word is spreading about the destructive pipeline. Citizens are becoming aware of the type of work the construction company is capable of and the speed with which they are trying to accomplish their deadlines is making residents that have to live with this pipeline extremely uneasy.
“No arrests were made this weekend, but, one officer from the local Gilchrist County Sheriff’s department made numerous threats of arrests and also towing. In the end of the morning a very peaceful demonstration at the Santa Fe river location, which appeared to have shut down the work for at least 4 hours, as the police and pipeline workers watched us parade back and forth for hours. The work in Live Oak shut down the work for approximately 3 hours, as a result of the demonstrations of people at each work site, on public roads.
“So, all in all, we’re still very active in the state of Florida, campaigning against Sabal Trail. More and more people are becoming more aware as a result of all these actions and activities and rallies and protests across the state of Florida, trying to protect our valuable water resource.
“I am absolutely grateful for all the public participation and it’s encouraging to know that people want to get out, even seeing the destructive nature of this pipeline being built in our soils. People still want to get out and participate and stand their ground against this pipeline.”
Malwitz-Jipson says there were no arrests during the Sabal Trail pipeline protests last weekend.
Activists are posting online that horizontal drilling is expected to begin in the coming days.
Here’s one of the videos posted on Kathy Lane’s Facebook page: