City officials took swift action after a Feb. 11 Miami Herald report showed that permits were sought to “install, operate, maintain, repair and replace" a jet-fuel pipeline near a canal and bike path that runs through Miami Springs and Virginia Gardens.
“Just the inquiry into it set this wildfire off,” said Miami Springs Mayor Zavier Garcia. “Heads were rolling everywhere, no one knew where this was coming from.”
A Jan. 22 letter to the city from the Everglades Pipe Line Co. stated that Ludlam Road would be restored to its original or a “better” condition. The company did not return an email seeking comment about when the company planned to start construction, where the fuel would come from and why Ludlam Road was chosen as a proposed pipeline site.
Currently, the jet-fuel pipeline runs along the Florida East Coast Railway property on the other side of the canal.
“They want to move it over to our side,” City Manager Ron Gorland said at the Feb. 11 council meeting. “We thought this was a county issue, but the county made it very clear that this was a city street and we have control over it.”
But one veteran council member cried foul when he heard this.
“That is a contradiction to what the county’s position has been with Ludlam in the past,” said Councilman Bob Best, who cited the tree issue back in 2009 when the county pulled rank over the city to uproot nearly 3,000 Australian pines along Ludlam Road’s bike path. “It makes no sense what the county’s response was.”
Gorland was instructed to read an official news release from Buckeye Partners into the meeting’s record. In short, the company wished to clarify that it was conducting a “feasibility assessment of potential options to improve service delivery to the Miami International Airport.”
Buckeye Partners, the parent company of Everglades, trades on the NYSE and was founded in 1886 by the Standard Oil Company.
“It is a reverse, because they came to us for a permit — that is very different from a feasibility study,” Gorland said.
“The matter is far from over.”