Escalating Our Campaign Against the Sabal Trail Pipeline

Tim Canova

Chair, Progress For All

During the first 100 days of the Trump administration, Donald Trump has kept some promises as president, broken others, and all the while pushing a rabidly corporate agenda. He has proposed regressive tax cuts and enormous budget cuts that will greatly hamper regulation of big business. Trump has also issued a slew of executive orders catering to the fossil fuel industry, including the green-lighting of huge pipeline projects across the country, from the Keystone XL Pipeline and the Dakota Access Pipeline at Standing Rock to the Sabal Trail Pipeline that threatens to keep Florida and other states locked into a future of fossil fuels and fracked gas.

On April 29th, I took spoke at the People’s Climate March in Fort Lauderdale and called on activists to help us stop the dangerous Sabal Trail Pipeline, a 515 mile project to pump a billion cubic feet of fracked gas a day through the Upper Floridan Aquifer, an ecologically crucial region and source of 60 percent of Florida’s drinking water.

Here’s a quick update on our campaign against the Sabal Trail pipeline. First, I want to thank everyone who called Senator Bill Nelson’s office over the past weeks and months as part of our statewide call-in effort to express opposition to the Sabal Trail Pipeline. Your calls are turning up the heat and getting the senator’s attention.

We have also held several demonstrations at the senator’s Coral Gables office and we have collected and delivered more than 100,000 signatures against the pipeline. We’ve held half a dozen actions at Senator Nelson’s office asking him to speak out on this issue, and we’ve coordinated bi-weekly calls with statewide environmental activist groups to develop strategies for the next steps in escalating our campaign.

Finally, in April we met with Senator Nelson (pictured above) to express our concerns about the pipeline. The senator, a former astronaut, asked many questions about the state of construction and its potential dangers to our land and drinking water. We hope to continue to engage with him on these issues and to convince him to come out against the pipeline.

We’ve also participated in several demonstrations and actions, including at the Sacred Water Camp near the Suwannee River. And we’ve met with state legislators in Tallahassee to let them know why the Sabal Trail Pipeline poses such enormous risks to our lands and waters. We have effectively linked our fight against the pipeline and fracking to our fight for solar and other renewable energy sources in the Sunshine State. I’ve written about the relationship between this pipeline, climate change, and the growing threats to Florida’s drinking water most recently in the Miami Herald (you can read my op-ed at our website In addition, “Water is Life” t-shirts to “Stop the Sabal Trail Pipeline” are now available online at our website.

Thanks to our collective efforts, two leading Democratic candidates for governor of Florida — Tallahassee mayor Andrew Gillum and former Congresswoman Gwen Graham — have come out publicly against the pipeline. Throughout Florida, at least nine county Democratic executive committee (DECs) — most recently in Miami-Dade County — have now passed resolutions against the Sabal Trail Pipeline. Unfortunately, the Broward DEC chair is dragging her feet and seems more interested in placating fossil fuel companies and other corporate interests. We are calling on the Broward County DEC to listen to the people and join the resistance to this pipeline.

Even though our efforts to halt the construction of the Sabal Trail Pipeline are gathering momentum – we are running out of time. The pipeline could be pumping fracked gas through Florida’s wetlands as early as this summer.

At Progress For All, we are holding a series of public forums to raise awareness of the dangers of pipelines like the Sabal Trail, with the first forum kicking-off on May 23rd in Hollywood Beach, Florida.

We hope these public forums on the Sabal Trail Pipeline will help educate the public and mainstream media. We need your help, we need resources to pay for the venues, help with the speakers, and transport people to the forums. These forums should also spur our grassroots to action — for example, by calling and writing letters to members of Congress and other public officials, sending letters-to-the-editor to local newspapers, signing our petition, and joining the growing divestment movement to boycott the fossil fuels industry and the big Wall Street banks that fund them.

As in my Democratic primary campaign last year against Debbie Wasserman Schultz, I have pledged that Progress For All will not take a penny from any corporate interests — unlike much of the Democratic Party establishment and corporate funded Democrats who are dependent on contributions from the fossil fuels industry. Our commitment to small donor contributions means we will always stand up for the people, clean drinking water, and a clean environment for future generations.

Time is running out. If we fail to stop the Sabal Trail Pipeline, sometime in the future — in six months or six years perhaps — the entire state of Florida may look like Flint, Michigan, with contaminated drinking water and dependent on bottled water for all our basic needs.

Please spread the word. Together we will keep fighting against the fossil fuel industry, fracking and pipelines, and we will keep working for a sustainable future based on solar and other renewable energy sources.


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