Starkey Citizens for a Clean & Healthy Environment
Over Protests, Schuyler Lawmakers Maintain Support for Gas Storage Facility

WATKINS GLEN — Frustrated and angered by a failed attempt to turn back the Schuyler County Legislature’s support of the proposed gas storage facility, opponents of the project chanted “Shame on you!” and “Fagan’s gotta go!” as lawmakers left Monday night’s meeting.

Ninety minutes earlier, the mood was different as between 300 and 400 people gathered on the shore of the “the grand old lady of the Finger Lakes” to use Seneca Lake as the rallying point against the proposed Crestwood Midstream Partners project to store liquid petroleum gas in depleted salt caverns in the town of Reading, north of Watkins Glen.

Children sang anti-fracking songs and speakers urged their listeners to sign letters to Gov. Cuomo asking that the gas storage project be rejected.

Buoyed by the speakers and the music, the hundreds of project opponents walked from Seneca Harbor Park to the front lawn of the Schuyler County Courthouse.

Inside, county legislators were hearing a demand that their June support of the project be rescinded. It was the first of six “demands for action” from the Concerned Citizens of Schuyler County.

In the prepared statement, spokesman the Rev. Gary Judson, a retired United Methodist minister, also told lawmakers that Legislature Chairman Dennis Fagan, R-Tyrone, should recuse himself from all matters relating to the gas storage project, claiming Fagan would benefit from a continuing relationship with his former company Fagan Engineers.

Fagan later explicitly refuted Judson’s reasons for asking for him to remove himself.

Judson said the group also was asking for more time for the safety of the project to be studied.

Dr. Rob Mackenzie of Hector, retired CEO of the Cayuga Medical Center in Ithaca, urged lawmakers to “take a time out” to carefully consider safety.

“It’s not a question of balancing safety issues against economics, politics, car sales or the country’s need for fossil fuel or nuclear power. Somehow those other priorities just don’t seem to matter after a disaster,” Mackenzie said.
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