|Health Care Professionals call for Halt of Gas Storage along Seneca
In letters sent to:
Schuyler County Legislature
Town of Reading Board
Town of Reading Planning Board
Mayor Mark Swinnerton of Watkins Glen,
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)
Deputy Permit Administrator David Bimber and
Commissioner Joe Martens of the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)
Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer
Assemblyman Tom O’Mara
Congressman Tom Reed
And Governor Cuomo,
Members of the Schuyler County Medical Community stated, “We have an urgent imperative to protest Inergy’s and Arlington’s projects to store liquefied petroleum gas and natural gas in the salt caverns under Seneca Lake and at the NYSEG site”.
Signed by Physicians, Physician Assistants, Nurses, Emergency Medical Technicians, and Emergency Room Staff working within the county that would house the proposed gas storage facilities, the letters cite concerns for the health of those they serve from poor air quality, a threat to clean drinking water, and the potential for catastrophic accidents related to these projects. In the letter to Governor Cuomo, they write, “Because some of these risks may be not be evident for years, we must rely on data from respected sources on environmental hazards such as pollution. The greater unknowns simply pose too severe a burden and risk for our residents.”
Signatory Paula Fitzsimmons, a Physician Assistant, said that “Besides the watershed on which we depend, the air quality is at risk of severe compromise based on the truck traffic as this area becomes a saturated industrial storage hub requiring truck traffic the likes of which no resident can imagine. The issue of a collapsing salt cavern and its fallout may be difficult to wrap our minds around; the impacts of truck traffic and pollution have been well studied. We can expect asthma rates to go up, and for quality of life to go down for anyone with lung disease. Health studies available from other areas suggest that fetal health may also be impaired from the pollution that is inevitable from truck traffic and flare stacks.” She added, “I have many other reasons to strongly protest this project. As a farm family with many acres of vineyards and apples, the threat feels ominous. We have built a winery from the ground up and have been thrilled to be a part of the Finger Lakes growth as a jewel in drawing people from all over the country and the world. The ozone issue alone is potentially damaging to vineyards. The prospect of this area becoming an industrialized zone, as Inergy has clearly stated it intends, is horrific. But as a medical professional, I feel responsible to wake up and face the health threat to our residents who are woefully unaware of what is coming their way.”
The Schuyler County Health Care Professionals’ declaration of opposition to Crestwood (formerly Inergy) and its subsidiaries development along the Western shore of Seneca Lake marks yet another body to come out publicly against these projects. Senator Michael Nozzolio has written two letters to DEC’s Commissioner Martens initially expressing concern --and later outright opposing the project. The Seneca County Board of Supervisors, Yates County Legislature, and the Ontario County Board of Supervisors, have all adopted resolutions against the facility. The City Council of Geneva will be considering drafting a similar resolution at their next meeting.
The Schuyler County Environmental Management Council sent a letter to FERC requesting that they deny the application for natural gas storage expansion.