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Environmental groups try new strategy to slow Sabal Trail

A collection of environmental groups, led by the Sierra Club,have asked liaison officers for the Land and Water Conservation Fund in four southernstates to ensure that the Sabal Trail pipeline and related projects do not compromisepublic parks and recreation areas.

The groups urged the Land and Water Conservation Fund liaisonofficers from Florida, Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi to "take swift action"to make sure that new and existing pipeline projects comply with all requirementsof the fund.

"Specifically, in your states, at least 11 LWCF-funded areas,including popular state and local parks, are in the crosshairs of the connectedSabal Trail and Magnolia Extension projects," the groups wrote in an April12 letter. "Yet, to our best knowledge, no one is ensuring LWCF complianceby such projects. Going forward this needs to be prioritized to protect the public'ssignificant investment in public lands."

The co-signers also included the Natural Resources Defense Council,Gulf Restoration Network, Flint Riverkeeper, Save Our Santa Fe River, WWALS WatershedCoalition and Earthjustice.

The Land and Water Conservation Fund, or LWCF, invests earningsfrom offshore oil and natural gas leasing to protect natural areas, water resourcesand cultural heritage, according to the National Park Service.

The groups requested that state land managers undertake variousactions to secure compliance from pipeline projects in their respective states,including notifying pipeline regulators of LWCF compliance obligations and ask theypause their reviews until the states can complete their own reviews.

FERC approvedSabal Trail Transmission LLC's pipeline project and two related projects on Feb.2, although that approval was subject to specific construction and environmentalconditions.

The approximately $3.2 billion, 516-mile Sabal Trail pipeline would bring upto 1.1 Bcf/d to Florida. The project is the joint venture of , NextEra Energy Inc., and Spectra Energy Corp's Spectra Energy Partners LP.

The Magnolia Extension project would be an approximately 45 mileextension of American Midstream PartnersLP's Magnolia Intrastate Pipeline. The extension would run through Alabamaand into Mississippi to connect with TennesseeGas Pipeline Co.'s 500 Line. The project would be able to transportup to 500,000 Dth/d of gas from the 500 Line to Williams Partners LP's Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Co. LLC system. Sabal Trailconnects to Transco.