Wakulla Commission opposes proposed pipeline

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By: Erin Lisch
August 15, 2016

WAKULLA COUNTY, Fla. (WCTV) --Wakulla officials are saying 'no' when it comes to a new proposed pipeline in their community.

The pipeline would dispose of wastewater near the Gulf Coast.

That pipeline would run from a Georgia Pacific Foley Cellulose Mill near Perry, to the Fenholloway River, about a mile from the gulf.

Georgia Pacific has been ordered by the Department of Environmental Protection to clean up, causing this pipeline proposal.

Fighting against the pipeline idea, Wakulla County Commissioner Howard Kessler.

Commissioner Howard Kessler says residents are unhappy, "They don't want any more pollutants in their water, they don't want it in their gulf, they don't want it in their fish."

The pipeline would run just two miles from where the river goes into the gulf.

"When you take that pipe, and put it right at the mouth of the river, then what happens is you eliminated all of the river's ability to take out those pollutants," said Kessler.

40 million gallons of toxic fluids would be dumped into the gulf daily, according to Commissioner Kessler.

Residents say they can't get behind the plan.

Against the pipeline plan, Janice Blair said, "The small fish gets eaten by the bigger fish, and the bigger fish and the bigger fish and then we take that to the table so we have bio accumulated all of the dioxin and then we eat it."

Opposing the plan, Jack Rudloe said, "You're directly impacting our friends the scallops the crabs the fish. You're going to have a reduction of sea life and that sea life is bird watching tourism fishing the whole business."

County commissioners voted unanimously to oppose the project Monday night.

With the formal objection of the plan, the permit is now in the deciding hands of the Army Corps of Engineers.

Georgia-Pacific’s Foley Cellulose Mill provided the following statement to WCTV about the Fenholloway Water Quality Project:

"We want to ensure the public has correct information. Unfortunately, many of the comments made by individuals against the pipeline have included inaccuracies and misrepresentations about our company and the work our mill has done to comply with state and federal regulations and improve the Fenholloway River system. Please refer to the letter from Foley’s General Manager, Lee Davis at www.fenholloway.com. The purpose of the letter is to help inform our community that our company and employees have been committed to operating with integrity and in compliance with all laws and regulations, and we are committed to being a responsible member of our community and region.

"The administrative order, including the Finding of Facts section, and NPDES permit requires Foley Cellulose to commence construction of the pipeline by March 6, 2019, after completing significant improvements to the mill’s effluent treatment system. Over $100 million in mill process improvements have already resulted in significant water quality improvements in the Fenholloway River and we will continue our efforts for further water quality improvements.

"The finding of facts within the Administrative Order clearly demonstrates that, without the required relocation of the discharge, there are no other alternatives available for us to meet Class III water quality standards in the river. We have looked at every viable technology and we will implement those that have the ability to meet the standards required by FDEP and EPA.

"Sea grass beds have been the focus of our restoration efforts during the past decade. Ongoing monitoring confirms that conditions necessary to support sea grass in the Gulf along the mouth of the river have been reestablished."


By: Lanetra Bennett
August 9, 2016

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Some local officials are trying to keep a proposed pipeline from being built near the Gulf of Mexico.

It would run from a Georgia Pacific mill in Taylor County to the Fenholloway River near the gulf.

Wakulla County Commissioner Howard Kessler and Leon County Commissioner Bill Proctor spoke out on the issue Tuesday. They're asking U.S. Senator Bill Nelson to stop the permit request for the Foley cellulose mill in Taylor County. To view the letter sent to Senator Nelson, click here.

The commissioners say 40-million gallons of toxic fluid would be discharged daily into the Fenholloway River near the gulf, that would negatively impact Wakulla and surrounding counties.

Commissioner Kessler, who's also a physician, said, "When you move that pipe to the Gulf closer, you're going to enlarge that dead zone. We don't need more toxic chemicals in the Gulf. We need to protect our waters and keep them as clean as we can for the health and safety of our people."

The following is a statement from Foley/Georgia-Pacific

The administrative order requires Foley Cellulose to commence construction of the pipeline by March 6, 2019, after completing significant improvements to the effluent treatment system. Over $100 million in mill process improvements have already resulted in significant water quality improvements in the Fenholloway River.

Foley Cellulose will complete significant improvements to the effluent treatment system by March 6, 2019, and then relocate the treated effluent away from the fresh water portion of the Fenholloway river to the tidal portion of the river at mile marker 1.5 by March 6, 2021 at a cost of $70 -$100 million. The primary reason for relocating the discharge to the tidal portion of the river is to address the salt content of the treated effluent. Salinity will not pose a concern at the relocation point because the salt content of the treated effluent is less than that of the brackish water in the lower reaches of the river. Upon completion of complete project, the entire Fenholloway river system will meet Class III standards, acceptable for recreational use.

Georgia-Pacific and its Foley Cellulose mill are committed to meeting clean water standards, and improving and protecting the quality of Fenholloway River. Please let me know if you have any other questions or go to www.fenholloway.com. Use Google Chrome to access the website and see a continuous video of the Fenholloway river.



 
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