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Judge To Consider Florida Pipeline Permit Dispute

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MIAMI (CBSMiami/NSF) --  A judge is set to consider an environmental group's efforts to block construction of a pipeline mean to transport gas into Florida from Alabama.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection in July gave notice that it plans to issue a key permit for the Sabal Trail pipeline, which is planned, at least in part, to help deliver natural gas to power plants operated by Florida Power & Light and Duke Energy Florida.

A Georgia-based environmental group, WWALS Watershed Coalition, Inc., has fought the permit, pointing to potential impacts of the pipeline on North Florida waterways.

The group last month added an affiliated organization, WWALS Watershed Coalition Florida, Inc., to the case, though the Department of Environmental Protection contends that the Florida affiliate's petition should be dismissed because it did not meet a legal deadline.

The department this week sent the case to the state Division of Administrative Hearings.

The pipeline is a joint venture of Spectra Energy Partners LP and NextEra Energy Inc., the parent company of FPL. The pipeline would cross the Florida-Georgia border in Hamilton County and go through Suwannee, Gilchrist, Alachua, Levy, Citrus, Marion, Sumter, Lake, Polk and Orange counties before ending in Osceola County, according to the July notice issued by the Department of Environmental Protection.

(The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.)


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