Apr 30 2009

Dead Sea Grass

Spectra’s “Pipeline Asset” Kills Sea Grass Beds in Florida

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) recently fined one of Spectra Energy’s “pipeline assets” for killing sea grass beds in Florida.

The St. Petersburg Times reported that:  “[Florida] State environmental regulators announced Friday that they are fining a natural gas company more than $200,000 for killing sea grass beds in Tampa Bay.”
Link: http://www.tampabay.com/news/environment/water/article995078.ece

The April 25th news report identifies the guilty company as Gulfstream and explains that:  “Gulfstream is a Tampa-based company formed by a partnership between Oklahoma’s Williams Cos. and Spectra Energy of Texas.”

According to Reporter Craig Pittman, Gulfstream was building a 17-mile pipeline and:  “used a technique called horizontal direct drilling, cutting its hole for the pipeline a minimum of 3 feet down from the bay’s bottom.  To lubricate the drill, the company used a chemical called bentonite, which is made from volcanic ash.”

There was a “frac-out” when the bentonite chemicals “broke out of the hole” and “The chemical spill smothered the sea grass beds, the DEP found.”

“Nearly an acre of sea grass beds was affected by chemical release, the [Florida] DEP found. More than a half-acre of sea grass sustained further damage from the grounding of the cleanup barges,” according to the news report.

Gulfstream Natural Gas is described as one of Spectra Energy’s “pipeline assets,” according to the company’s website.  See link:

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