From: News Service of Florida
Staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued a report Friday that said hundreds of miles of pipelines that would deliver natural gas to Florida would have a relatively limited environmental impact. The report is an important step for the Sabal Trail pipeline, which would run from Alabama to Osceola County, and the Florida Southeast Connection pipeline, which would hook up with Sabal Trail and bring gas to Southeast Florida. Some environmentalists have fought the Sabal Trail project, contending it would damage natural systems such as wetlands. But Friday’s report, known as an environmental impact statement, pointed to steps that would be taken to reduce the effects of the projects. “Constructing and operating the (pipelines) would temporarily and permanently impact the environment,” an executive summary said. “Some of these impacts would be adverse; however, as described in this EIS (environmental impact statement), we have determined that with the implementation of the applicants’ proposed impact avoidance, minimization, and mitigation measures and its adherence to our recommendations, the … project would not result in a significant impact on the environment.” With the release of the report, Sabal Trail Transmission LLC said it anticipates members of the federal commission will decide early next year about whether to issue what is known as a certificate of public convenience and necessity. The pipelines, at least in part, are planned to deliver natural gas to Florida Power & Light and Duke Energy Florida power plants. The Sabal Trail pipeline would start in Alabama, cross part of Georgia, enter Florida in Hamilton County and end in Osceola County. The Florida Southeast Connection pipeline would run from Osceola County to Martin County.