UPDATE: Since our 2018 victory, Gas Free Seneca continues to be involved in statewide, national, and global climate and environmental issues. The founders of Gas Free Seneca have gone on to found Seneca Lake Guardian, a Waterkeeper Alliance Affiliate nonprofit to continue their work on environmental issues within the Finger Lakes region. For more information, please go to: www.senecalakeguardian.org
In Stunning Victory for Finger Lakes Region, Controversial Gas Storage Project is Halted
State Department of Environmental Conservation denies draft permit, cites host of concerns
ALBANY, NY – The people of the Finger Lakes region are rejoicing at news today that a controversial liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) storage project proposed for Seneca Lake will not go forward as planned. Citing concerns about community character of the Finger Lakes, cavern stability, and risks to the agri-tourism economy, the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) denied a draft permit for the project, presenting a likely insurmountable hurdle for proponents.
Citing threats to public safety and the growing local tourism economy, opponents of the project have pressed state leaders to deny the permit to Finger Lakes LPG, which had sought to store 88.2 million gallons of LPG in abandoned salt caverns alongside Seneca Lake.
The news is a huge victory for a coalition of residents, local elected officials, and business owners who have long fought to protect Seneca Lake and their regional economy, at times attracting national media attention for their cause.
“This is truly a great day for our region and we thank everyone who helped make this day possible,” said Yvonne Taylor, Vice President of Gas Free Seneca. “Don’t ever let anyone tell you that David can’t beat Goliath. We raise a glass of Finger Lakes bubbly to all who have worked so hard in our region and offer a toast to Governor Cuomo and his administration for finally standing up for the people of our region and keeping us safe from this dirty and dangerous gas storage project. “Governor Cuomo has proposed a clean energy vision that is the right way forward for the Finger Lakes and the rest of the state. We applaud Commissioner Seggos for agreeing that this proposal was counter to this vision and too dangerous for our community.”
“The Finger Lakes for 150+ years has been building a reputation for fine wine, local farm to fork food, and a way of life that can be passed on from generation to generation. Today, Governor Cuomo and DEC Commissioner Seggos did the right thing to protect the People of the Finger Lakes, protecting and preserving our legacy businesses and ensuring that the economic growth of Finger Lakes Wine Country continues without threat,” said Will Ouweleen, Secretary of Finger Lakes Wine Business Coalition, and Vintner, O-Neh-Da and Eagle Crest Vineyards, Est. 1872. “With over 20% of Finger Lakes wineries running on solar power, renewable energy is the future to energy independence for the great State of New York. We are not the gas and garbage dump for America, we are and will continue to be one of the most exciting wine regions in the world. Excelsior!”
The nonprofit environmental law organization Earthjustice has represented Gas Free Seneca in proceedings and had been poised to challenge the project in court, if needed.
“Undaunted by an out-of-state energy company, the people of the Finger Lakes stood up to protect everything they hold dear. Today they won. We’re proud to have worked alongside this brave and spirited coalition and hope their success inspires and emboldens communities throughout the country that are fighting fossil fuel infrastructure projects,” said Earthjustice Attorney Deborah Goldberg. “The people of the DEC clearly have taken their duty to protect New York’s people and environment seriously. We heartily thank the DEC officials who took the time to thoroughly analyze the proposal before them and conclude that this project poses too great a threat to move forward.”
Crestwood, a Texas-based corporation proposed a plan to store dangerous, explosive liquefied petroleum gases in abandoned salt caverns under the shores of Seneca Lake.The unlined salt caverns along Seneca Lake were never engineered for storage, yet Crestwood proposed storing up to 40 million barrels of explosive propane in a manner that has caused injuries and deaths, large fires, evacuations and major property loss in other locations.
Members of the tourism industry highlighted that Crestwood’s proposal would bring almost no economic benefit to New Yorkers. Crestwood promised to bring three to five permanent jobs to the region, paling in comparison to the 60,000 tourism jobs in the Finger Lakes that would be jeopardized if the plan was implemented.
Over 450 Seneca Lake property owners, 500 local and regional businesses on the GFS and FLXWBC coalitions, several local wineries and vineyard owners, and 32 municipalities representing 1.2 million New Yorkers oppose the proposal. Gas Free Seneca was the first organization founded to oppose the storage proposal. It is the lead petitioner in the legal battle against the proposed gas storage facility in the Finger Lakes.
Today’s decision means the project cannot go forward.
|For details & sources used in our ads CLICK HERE||Many of the problems of this project are outlined in our Dec. 7, 2016 Albany Press Conference. You can watch it here, preceded by our 30 second PSA.
Please note the audio of the press conference starts at 11 seconds or so
We are a group of concerned citizens and business owners who have joined together to stop a proposed liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) industrial storage facility and a methane expansion facility, with plans to store methane, propane, and butane in unlined, depleted salt caverns that were never engineered to store anything, on the shores of Seneca Lake. These projects present innumerable risks to our safety, our water , way of life, and our livelihoods. Please join us!
Crestwood, a Houston energy company, is trying to industrialize Seneca Lake and the Finger Lakes by proposing a massive project to store liquefied petroleum gases in unlined salt caverns under Seneca Lake. This project presents geological problems, can affect Seneca Lake water quality, presents health risks, is a threat to our winery and tourist economy, as well as being an infrastructure project that could negatively impact climate change.
There are a lot of resources on this website. So look around. Some suggestions:
- Watch the January 2015 update on the Donate page
- Watch portions of the Seneca in the Balance event on the Events page. You can see noted professionals and business owners in the field of geology, health, tourism, agriculture, winery, biology and politics examine the problems of this project.
- For the latest. go to our Facebook page
- Under Resources you’ll find a lot of information including videos, expert testimony, articles, and DEC documents
Look around and you’ll find a lot of information here.
- Write and call Governor Cuomo
- Write and call your state Senator and Assemblyman
- If you own a business, join our Business Coalition
- Join our mailing list
- Write letters to the editor
- Talk to your colleagues and friends about this project
While Earthjustice is providing pro-bono legal work, your donation will go directly towards the costs of expert reports, affidavits and in some cases testimony that need to be prepared in our on-going legal battle to preserve Seneca Lake. Our independent expert Geologist, Hydro-geologist, Risk Analyst, Noise Expert, Economist and Community Character Expert are providing Governor Cuomo and DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos with the research they need to build a case for denying permits to Crestwood. We expect the cumulative cost for these additional reports and testimony will be up to $130,000. Your donation will be used for this expert testimony either in the event of a full hearing, or an appeal.
Please consider donating to support our work.
We will have donation information here soon.
Find the latest on our Facebook page:
[custom-facebook-feed width=97% num=3]