Starkey Citizens for a Clean & Healthy Environment
Four Downstate Senators Join Opposition to LPG Storage Site

Posted: Sunday, February 23, 2014 5:00 am

By DAVID L. SHAW dshaw@fltimes.com

READING — Four downstate senators have joined Gas Free Seneca and Mike Nozzolio in opposing a gas storage project proposed for the west side of Seneca Lake.

Arlington Storage, a subsidiary of Houston-based Crestwood Midstream, is seeking state Department of Environmental Conservation and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approval to store roughly 88 million gallons of liquefied petroleum gas and natural gas in salt caverns just north of Watkins Glen. The plan involves pumping brine water currently in the caverns into a large, yet-to-be-built pond.

State Sens. Tony Avella, D-11 of Queens; Liz Krueger, D-28 of Manhattan; Cecilia Tkaczyk, D-46, of Duanesburg; and George Latimer, D-37, of Rye, have written Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state DEC Commissioner Joe Martens requesting that the necessary permits not be granted.

Nozzolio, R-54 of Fayette, has asked that the DEC reject the permits and help Crestwood find a better location.

Avella, Tkaczyk and Latimer are on the state Environmental Conservation Committee.

They recently heard testimony about the project from Yvonne Taylor, co-founder of Gas Free Seneca.

In their letter, the senators touted the thriving agri-businesses and tourism economy in the Finger Lakes, calling it a “jewel in the center of our great state.”

They say Seneca Lake is the epicenter of that growth, hosting 108 wineries in the five counties surrounding the lake.

Tourism accounts for 58,000 jobs and puts nearly $3 billion into the state’s economy, they wrote.

“Allowing an out-of-state corporation to turn the Finger Lakes into a storage and transportation hub for the Northeast would require an over-ground infrastructure,” they said. “That includes open brine pits, active burning flare stacks, pipelines, a six-track rail siding, a truck depot, above-ground bullet tanks and increased truck traffic along tourist-filled roads.”

The lawmakers cited “serious” safety and environmental concerns, questioning the stability of the underground geology and a history of fires and explosions when storing gas in salt caverns.

Gas Free Seneca officials said they were pleased with the letter. They also expressed gratitude to the Geneva Town Board for approving a motion Feb. 11 opposing the project and urging the DEC to deny approval.

The Town Board noted that Seneca Lake is the source of drinking water for more than 100,000 people, including the town of Geneva, “and is the most important natural resource in the area.”
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