Protesters removed from inside Sabal Trail Pipeline in Marion County

'We're locking down,' protester says inside pipeline

By Emilee Speck - Digital journalist

MARION COUNTY, Fla. - Two protesters who climbed inside the 3-foot-wide natural gas Sabal Trail Pipeline in Marion County on Wednesday were removed by a rescue team, Marion County Fire Rescue said.

Nicolas Segal-Wright,26, and Karrie Kay Ford, 29, climbed inside the pipeline Wednesday morning after 7:30 a.m. and refused to come out, Marion County Sheriff's Office spokesperson Lauren Lettelier said.

Deputies asked them to come out voluntarily and after they refused Marion County Fire Rescue sent firefighters in to physically get them out.

The protesters, who called themselves “water protectors,” posted a video to Facebook after locking themselves up in the pipe.

“We’re staying here,” Ford, said in the video. “We are locking down. We’re not going anywhere.”

The protesters used a device to lock each other up making it harder for law enforcement to get to them, according to the Sheriff's Office.

"They got Nico out and they're coming for me," Ford said in a video. "What I did was I created a blockade of all our stuff so they are going to have to go through all our stuff to get to me."

Segal-Wright was removed by Marion County Fire Rescue at 1:06 p.m. and Ford was removed just after 2:00 p.m.

After being treated on scene for minor injuries, both protesters were taken to the Marion County Jail.

Both protesters are charged with three felony charges including grand theft for delaying the construction on the pipeline, trespassing on a posted construction site and criminal mischief. Ford is also charged with resisting without violence for refusing to unlock herself, preventing deputies from taking her into custody, according to the Sheriff's Office.

Sabal

Marion County proposed pipeline

The two protesters were 250-feet into the pipeline, according to the Ocala Star Banner.

The 515-mile natural gas pipeline is being constructed to help provide electricity to Floridians. The pipeline goes through much of Florida, including Marion County, into Georgia and Alabama.

Multiple protests have been reported against the pipeline in recent weeks.

A total of 288 miles of the pipeline run through Florida, including Alachua, Hamilton, Suwannee, Gilchrist, Levy, Marion, Sumter, Lake, Polk, Osceola, Orange and Citrus counties.

The pipeline is a joint venture of Spectra Energy Partners, NextEra Energy and Duke Energy. The project is expected to be completed by June 2017 providing power to Florida Power and Light and Duke Energy.

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