|Despite Threats to Public Safety and Local Economy, Controversial Gas Storage Project Moves Forward
State issues draft permit, opponents prepare for legal next steps
ALBANY -- A controversial liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) storage project proposed for the Finger Lakes took a step forward late yesterday when the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) issued a draft permit for the project.
Citing threats to public safety and the growing local tourism economy, opponents of the project have called on the DEC for years to deny the permit to Finger Lakes LPG, which seeks to store 88.2 million gallons of LPG in abandoned salt caverns alongside Seneca Lake.
“Governor Cuomo claims to support the Finger Lakes’ growing wine and tourism industry, but today his administration missed an opportunity to protect our region’s economy from its biggest threat: this dirty and dangerous gas storage project. While our own governor may have abandoned this region, we refuse to let this irresponsible project destroy everything that the people of the Finger Lakes have worked so hard to build and will continue to fight this project every step of the way,” said Yvonne Taylor of Gas Free Seneca.
Ironically, this decision comes after weeks of protest and dozens of arrests at the Crestwood gate indicating a growing mass opposition to the Texas-based corporation’s plans to store methane, propane and butane in the unlined caverns along the lake. http://www.wearesenecalake.com/
Final approval of the project is not yet assured. Opponents now have an opportunity to raise concerns about the project through what is known as an “Issues Conference,” currently scheduled for February 12. After the Issues Conference, the Chief Administrative Law Judge presiding over the proceeding will determine whether the concerns warrant an adjudicatory hearing and, if so, who will participate as a party or friend of the court.
The nonprofit environmental law organization Earthjustice will file a petition for party status on behalf of Gas Free Seneca and represent the group at the issues conference.
“We only recently have obtained confidential technical documents, which we must share with experts to assess cavern integrity and potential threats to Seneca Lake, a drinking water source for 100,000 people. We also will be looking carefully at the draft permit to identify other disputed questions that should be considered at the issues conference,” said Earthjustice Attorney Deborah Goldberg. “The legal battle is just beginning.”
Co-Founder, Gas Free Seneca