News from Seneca Lake

Here in the Finger Lakes region of New York State,  Houston-based Crestwood Midstream intends to store — in abandoned salt caverns located beside 635-foot-deep, trout-filled Seneca Lake — 2 billion cubic feet of compressed natural gas (methane) and 88 million gallons of liquefied petroleum gases (propane and butane).  According to Joseph Campbell, of Gas Free Seneca,

“It’s tantamount to burying giant cigarette lighters along the shorelines of paradise.  But apparently Crestwood doesn’t care that Seneca Lake is a world’s top lakeside destination. As promised to shareholders, the corporation intends to turn the Finger Lakes into ‘an integrated natural gas storage and transportation hub for the Northeast’.”

• In September, 2013, a 2.0 earthquake struck the area, raising questions about fault lines running through the salt caverns — including one whose roof collapsed in the 1960s.

• In January, on the grounds that it threatens public safety and provides no evacuation plan, a group of Schuyler County health professionals called for a halt to this project.

• In March, on the grounds that brine pits, pipelines, compressor stations, flare stacks, and massive truck traffic will devastate the area’s wine and tourism industries, more than 100 local business owners denounced the plan. Their efforts were joined by luminaries in the world of wine who seek to develop vineyards along Seneca’s lakeshore: Paul Hobbs (“the Steve Jobs of wine”) and his partner, Johannes Selbach.

• In May, on the grounds that accidents would imperil drinking water, the Geneva City Council passed a resolution opposing the project. In so doing, the City of Geneva joined the towns of Waterloo, Ulysses, and Fayette, and three counties surrounding the lake (Ontario, Seneca, and Yates), all of which have condemned Crestwood’s plans.

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