Starkey Citizens for a Clean & Healthy Environment
A Volley in the LPG Battle of Seneca Lake

And now, it’s taking aim at Inergy’s plans to store millions of barrels of LPG — or liquid petroleum gas — in depleted salt caverns alongside Seneca Lake.

“We had contacted them before to get them interested and weren’t having a lot of success until the Peter Mantius story that outlined the structural problems with the caverns Inergy wants to use for storage,” said Joseph Campbell, president and co-founder of Gas Free Seneca. “We were offered their legal assistance and thought it would be an ideal marriage.”

At this early stage of the game, it isn’t clear what path Earthjustice will take as it lends its weight to the fight. Goldberg said before any decision is made, her group wants to make sure there is full consideration of the environmental impact the facility will have.

“The Finger Lakes is a special part of New York, and we think it should be preserved as much as possible,” she said. “We will be working with the people most affected and develop a collaborative strategy to persuade the decision-makers this is a really bad idea. Given all the new information that’s come in and the changes and unanswered questions, the draft environmental impact statement should go before the public again.”

As Campbell sees it, the fact the group has sent the lead attorney from its New York City office — instead of one of its associate attorneys — signals how seriously the firm sees the issue.

What started out in February 2011 as the quiet sale of a natural gas storage facility to Inergy Midstream has blossomed into a loud battle between the Missouri-based company and local environmental groups. The opposition has held protest marches in Watkins Glen, vigorously challenged environmental impact statements related to the project and successfully fought for the completion of arisk assessment study on the project.
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