Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Report: DEC staff make case for Seneca Lake gas-storage project

Posted By on Wed, May 6, 2015 at 9:58 AM

Department of Environmental Conservation staff appear to lean toward granting state permits for an underground gas storage facility in the Finger Lakes, based on comments in a procedural filing, reports Capital NY.

At issue is an application from a subsidiary of Texas-based Crestwood Holdings to convert a salt cavern into storage for up to 88 million gallons of liquefied petroleum gas, better known as propane and butane. (City wrote about the proposal in January.)

The proposed site is along Seneca Lake in the Town of Reading, just north of Watkins Glen. Critics say that the project is inconsistent with the natural character of the Finger Lakes, as well as the region's growing tourism industry. They also say that using the salt cavern to store gas is dangerous, and that the pressure from the gas could push brine into Seneca Lake.

In a brief filed as part of an issues conference proceeding, DEC staff say that the region has a long history of similar gas storage projects that have operated without major problems, and that opponents haven't produced adequate evidence to back up their claims, according to Capital.

“It's pretty obvious that the D.E.C. is in collusion with the applicant on this project,” Joseph Campbell, co-founder of the activist group Gas Free Seneca, told Capital.

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