Sabal Trail Pipeline protesters arrested in Marion County

- Two protestors were arrested on Wednesday after they locked themselves inside a pipe that is part of the ongoing Sabal Trail Pipeline Project, which runs through parts of Marion County.

They both categorized the risk they put first responders at as, "miniscule -- nothing compared to the risk they claim the Sabal Trail Gas Pipeline, and others like it, cause for the public."  But that is not how the company or county officials see it. 

Karrie Ford, 29, gave us permission to show the cellphone video of herself talking, in the dark while inside the pipe, about what was happening earlier Wednesday, as she and 25-year-old Nicholas Segal-Wright were locked inside the pipe, intentionally.

 You see her say, "We're locked down here, cops pounding on pipe with hammers, threatening with tear gas."

She sat down with us for a jailhouse interview, explaining why she chained herself to a cement block inside the pipe.

"This pipeline goes through our Floridian aquifers, destroying our waterways and beautiful land here in Florida," she said.

The 500-plus mile pipeline will carry natural gas through Alabama, Georgia, and Florida, with 268 miles of pipe in Florida, right through Western Marion County.

Ford and Segal-Wright are self-described members of the Sabal Trail Resistance.  They were removed from the pipe at the 12,500 block of SW 200th Street in Dunnellon, after hours of being locked inside.

We spoke to Segal-Wright inside the jail. He said he wasn't comfortable putting his picture out on video.  We pointed out his inmate jail booking photograph is now public record.

When asked about the dangers they had put the rescuers in, during the operation to remove them from the pipe, he said, "Well, we didn't ask them to come in.  I feel their tactics in extracting us were very poor."

Spokeswoman for the Marion County Sheriff's Office Lauren Lettelier says, "We will go ahead and calculate the amount of resources involved...and we may be asking for restitution for the taxpayer."

Sabal Pipeline officials tell us  they will prosecute.  In addition to halting construction on Wednesday, the portion of pipe the two protesters were lodged in is now unusable, according to the Marion County Sheriff's Office.

Lettelier says, "It's $28,000 loss to the company.  They will have to redo pipe."

 According to the Sheriff's Office, both protestors are facing trespassing, criminal mischief, and grand theft charges--grand theft for halting construction.
 

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