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Contested Sabal Trail Pipeline now operational

Contested Sabal Trail Pipeline now operational (copyright: Spectra Energy)

After four years of pitched battle with homeowners and environmental groups opposed to the construction of a 829 km, 36 inch gas pipeline from central Alabama through southwest Georgia to Orange County, Florida, the Sabal Trail pipeline system has been placed in commercial operation.

Spectra Energy Partners, NextEra Energy and Duke Energy will jointly operate the pipeline system.

Sabal Trail successfully navigated a rigorous enviromnetal permitting process over the past four years, while working with landowners and key stakeholder to construct the pipeline, stated Bill Yardley, president and chairman of the board of Spectra Energy Partners.

"With the completion of this project, Florida Power & Light and Duke Energy will realize needed firm natural gas transportation services to meet their power generation requirements," Yardley said. "We are pleased to reach this critical milestone and serve our customers in the Southeast U.S."

The death knell for the fight against the pipeline came when the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) granted the Sabal Trail Transmission a certificate of public convenience and necessity in April. This meant the pipeline had the right to eminent domain, a right usually reserved for government projects. The decision is legal thanks to a 2005 Supreme Court decision.

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