There are several protests planned around the state Saturday against construction of the Sabal Trail pipeline; environmentalists have voiced concern about destruction of the natural environment during construction of the pipeline and about explosions, leaks and water contamination once it’s complete. Recently WMNF interviewed a Dunnellon resident who says her property has been damaged by pipeline workers. But now we hear from her next door neighbor, Gary L. Nero, who supports the pipeline; his family even got paid so that it could go through his land.
“They are not doing any drilling. This is not going to be fracked. This land has just been cleared out so they can bring the pipeline through.”
Let me ask you about the pipeline company’s access to your property. Is that something where they asked you if they could come on your property and you said ‘yes?’
“Yes, sir. Everybody out here that has the pipeline going through or anybody that would have had this coming through, had gotten the paperwork in the mail and they would tell you that there was gonna be a public meeting.”
How much did the pipeline pay you for the access to your property?
“That is public record. From what I understand, they did not pay me they paid my wife and my sister-in-law. I had nothing to do with this.”
Do you know how much it was?
“It was not what she said. I’ll guarantee that. She’s saying it was $16,000. It was less.”
You’re okay with the damage that it’s doing to your property for that amount of money?
“Okay. Now, this is what they do. They come through, if the damage that’s on my property is– not any damage right now; they put a new Wood Privacy Fence Designs up on my property and they worked on my gate and they made that better, they packed down the yard. They’re still gonna be back and they’re gonna– when they get done, it’s gonna look better than what it was in the beginning. I have no problem with that.”
My understanding is that the work that they’re doing near your property and on your property is just kind of for access to get to the pipeline construction site and that they’re actually building the pipeline itself, not right there, nearby, but, not right there. Do I have that right so far?
“They’re clearing out the access where they’re gonna be running the pipeline. The pipeline will come through here. Yes. They’ll be putting it like 6-feet deep or something like that or a little bit more, I’m not quite sure what the dimensions are, but, it is gonna come through here. They ran the pipe. They built it and we seen them done over in Crystal River, which is not that far from us and it was done, you know, quick, but, not quick. Timely. Done right. No explosions. No bad water.
“And like I said, there’s no drilling. No drilling, whatsoever, going on here. They’re not gonna be fracking at all. I don’t know where these people are coming up with this.”
So, granted that there’s no fracking, no drilling, some people, though, are concerned that once this pipeline is constructed and it’s underground, that there could be an explosion. Even if there hasn’t been one here, there’s been explosions in other places or there could be leaks. Is that something that you–
“Yes. I’ve seen that on the news and that has been all old piping, years ago, probably even before I was born. Like I said, I’m 57 years old and I’m pretty sure it was pipe older than me.”
So, you’re not worried about it leaking into your wells or anything like–
“The way they said this pipe is gonna be constructed and it’s all new materials and everything. I really don’t have a problem with it. If a problem arises; if I lose my water, Sabal Trail was informed that’s part of the deal that they will buy my property or you know, pay the property off and also turn around and give me enough to buy new property where I have good water. And they agreed with this.”
You trust the pipeline company to do that?
“Yes, I do. I mean, they’ve done everything that they told me that they were going to do.”
Here’s the information for some of the protests around Florida against the pipeline scheduled for Saturday December 10.
Downtown Tampa at noon at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park.
Sarasota at 10:00 a.m. at 111 Orange Avenue.
Davenport at 10:00 a.m. at 6951 Osceola Polk Line Road.
There is expected to be direct action in Live Oak – people are gathering at 8:00 a.m. at the Sacred Water Camp, 3243 91st Drive.
The Orlando Sentinel is reporting a sinkhole Friday in the four corners area of Osceola County, which is near the pipeline route, but authorities have not yet determined a cause.
Here’s a link to more WMNF News coverage of the Sabal Trail pipeline.