Protesters removed from inside central Florida pipeline

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

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.

A man and a women climbed inside the pipeline Wednesday morning 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 from inside the pipeline.

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

The protesters were removed by Marion County Fire Rescue just after 2 p.m. Both protesters are at the Marion County Jail. The Sheriff's Office did not specify what charges they would face.

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.