Sep 012016

Senators Schumer, Gillibrand Send Second Letter to Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Regarding Gas Storage on Seneca Lake

Urge FERC to Carefully Consider Gas Free Seneca’s Appeal

September 1, 2016, Watkins Glen, NY

US Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand co-signed a second letter to FERC…/Schumer-Gillibrand-08.30.2016-Le… in support of their constituents’ unresolved concerns regarding natural gas storage expansion and FERC’s recent approval of a two year extension for that build-out.

Gas Free Seneca filed an appeal of FERC’s decision…/2016-06-15-Gas-Free-Seneca-Petit… in June, stating that the Commission did not consider critical safety concerns related to the project, as well as new information on safety that was not available when the certificate issued, arguing that the extension of time was not justified and the Commission should not permit Arlington to proceed until these issues are addressed. (FERC’s reasoning for granting the extension was that there was no appointed state geologist to issue the underground storage permit, which prompted further questions regarding the validity of the permit issued for Crestwood’s other proposed project on the same site to store 88.2 Million gallons of propane in the salt caverns.)

In their letter, the Senators echoed the sentiments of Gas Free Seneca, stressing that “New concerns have been raised and the conclusions in the Quantitative Risk Analysis have been questioned for being true and independent results. Considering this appeal should give pause to this project and allow for much needed clarity and impartial risk analysis for the caverns in question. This would help the Finger Lakes community get answers to their concerns while also allowing new safety information learned from current events involving underground gas storage like the four month leak at Aliso Canyon, to be addressed as well. We strongly urge FERC to give this appeal full consideration and allow these concerned citizens the opportunity to make their voices heard.”

With the recent contamination of drinking water in Flint Michigan and Hoosick Falls, NY, the Senators also urged FERC to consider the potential risk to Seneca Lake’s water, a 4.2 Trillion gallon body of fresh water: “Arlington’s project is located in salt caverns adjacent to Seneca Lake, the largest glacial lake of New York’s Finger Lakes region. One very important factor to consider is that Seneca Lake provides clean drinking water for 100,000 residents living in the area, and is relied on for recreational opportunities in one of the most highly-trafficked tourist destinations in upstate New York. We continue to hear well-argued concerns about the economic effects this project could have on the region, including the burgeoning Finger Lakes wine industry, which has become a major driver of the region’s economy and tourism.”

They also enumerated the many concerns the public has raised about the project, writing “These include the adverse impacts this project could have on public health, safety, the environment and quality of life currently enjoyed by many in this area. In addition, the federal government is considering new regulations to address the safety of natural gas storage that, if applied to this facility, could have substantial impact on a variety of constituent concerns and the way this facility would operate. We are also aware that many of our constituent groups including Gas Free Seneca, Finger Lakes Wine Business Coalition, Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association, and many surrounding town and counties have come together to file an appeal to FERC halting this project until the serious environmental and safety issues they have raised are properly addressed. We ask that you give this appeal appropriate and thorough consideration.”

“We are extremely grateful to Senators Schumer and Gillibrand for listening to their constituents and lending their support”, stated Joseph Campbell, President of Gas Free Seneca. “We know that FERC has come under great scrutiny for rubber-stamping all gas related projects, so we hope that hearing from our Senators will encourage FERC to carefully consider our appeal,” he added.