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Seneca Lake Stands with Porter Ranch: Shut It All Down!

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Jan 182016
 

Seneca Lake Stands with Porter Ranch: Shut It All Down!

 

Statement by Sandra Steingraber on behalf of We Are Seneca Lake, January 18, 2016

 

My name is Sandra Steingraber, and I have a message to the people of Porter Ranch, California from the people of Seneca Lake.

In his famous Letter from a Birmingham Jail, Martin Luther King, Jr. declared, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

Today, on the national holiday celebrating the birth of Dr. King, we gather near the shoreline of Seneca Lake in New York State, on a simple driveway to make our own declaration.

This is not just any driveway. It’s contested ground. In the last 16 months, there have been 460 arrests on this strip of pavement for civil disobedience in objection to the expansion of underground gas storage in old salt mines on the banks of our beautiful lake. Some of us have gone to jail.

Today, we affirm our network of mutuality with people who live three time zones away in a California community called Porter Ranch.

The wind chill on this hillside is minus one degree, and we are cold. But we know that people of Porter Ranch are suffering magnitudes more. The leak from Aliso Canyon underground gas storage facility near Porter Ranch has been pouring 1,000 tons of climate-killing methane into the air every hour for the past three months. We all share the same atmosphere.

We know it’s the biggest gas leak in U.S. history. We know it’s an official state of emergency. We know there is no end in sight and there is no clear way to fix it.

We know that the fumes from this single leak have sickened people and dropped birds, dead, from the sky. We know that the risk of a massive fire is so great that planes cannot fly over the site and cellphones and watches are forbidden on the site.

We know that more than 2,500 Porter Ranch families have been forced to evacuate and children have been forced to change schools.

Meanwhile, seven different efforts to plug the faulty well that is the source of the leak, has only further destabilized the situation, expanding a crater around the wellhead that threatens the possibility of a full blow-out. And the attempts by Southern California Gas to drill a relief well will take at least six more weeks—and may not work either. These are hard truths to hear. But we hear them.

And we watched closely last Friday when people gathered in front of the Environmental Protection Agency offices and urged the EPA to entirely shut down the Aliso Canyon gas storage facility, which is not a specially engineered tank but simply a big hole in the ground left over from drilling and extracting oil. The people said, “Shut it all down!”

So, we want you to know that we are listening. And we, who stand right now, right here, on top of decrepit salt caverns that are slated to serve as storage vessels for massive amounts of pressurized gas echo your words back to you. Like your depleted oil field, our salt caverns were never engineered to hold natural gas either.

People of Porter Ranch, we know your lives were upended because no one replaced a safety valve at the bottom of the well. We don’t believe we have bottom safety valves here either.

Seneca Lake and Porter Ranch are tied in a single garment of destiny. What affects you directly today could affect us directly tomorrow. We look at the myriad injustices that you are now compelled to endure, and we see our own future.

Martin Luther King urged us to confront injustice and bend the arc of history in another direction. And he gave us some tactics to use in our efforts. One of them is non-violent civil disobedience. That’s what we are doing today. We do it to amplify your own message. And we do it in the fervent hope that we can change our story, that there will be no Porter Ranch at Seneca Lake.

We Are Seneca Lake and we join you in saying, “Shut it all down!”

 Posted by at 10:44 am

Blockaders Toast to a New Year of No Gas Storage Expansion at Crestwood, Six Blockaders are Arrested

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Jan 112016
 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – January 11, 2016

media contact: Sandra Steingraber  607.351.0719

photos: http://www.wearesenecalake.com/year-of-climate-action-pics

video:  http://www.wearesenecalake.com/year-of-climate-action-vids

Blockaders Toast to a New Year of No Gas Storage Expansion at Crestwood

Six arrested in civil disobedience action this morning

Watkins Glen, NY – In the first action of 2016, six We Are Seneca Lake protesters from five different New York counties toasted the New Year with apple cider, resolved to continue their campaign, and called for urgent action to protect the climate as they formed a human chain across the north entrance of Crestwood Midstream on Route 14 shortly before 9 a.m. this morning.

They blocked a tanker truck and a pick-up truck before their arrest by Schuyler County deputies.

Today’s blockaders held banners that said, “Crestwood = Climate Crisis” and “2016: Out with the Old. In with ReNEWables.”

All were transported to the Schuyler County Sheriff’s department, charged with disorderly conduct, and released.

Mother, grandmother, and art teacher Lyndsay Clark, 54, of Springwater, Livingston County, led fellow blockaders in a toast:

“We Are Seneca Lake resolves to protect and defend this water below us and this climate above us from reckless gas storage every day this year. If there is no other way, we will peacefully stand in the way. 2016 is the year of climate action, and we hereby resolve to act.”

Environmental researcher and blockader John Dennis, PhD, 65, of Lansing, Tompkins County, noted, “Some of these natural gas storage caverns were drilled in the 1950s. They could fail and release methane into the atmosphere just as has the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage cavern that is currently releasing methane into the atmosphere near Los Angeles.”

The total number of arrests in the sixteen-month-old civil disobedience campaign now stands at 460.

The We Are Seneca Lake movement opposes Crestwood’s plans for methane and LPG storage in lakeside salt caverns and has been ongoing since October 2014.

Crestwood’s methane gas storage expansion project was approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in October 2014 in the face of broad public opposition and unresolved questions about geological instabilities, fault lines, and possible salinization of Seneca Lake, which serves as a source of drinking water for 100,000 people.

The six arrested today were:

 

Michael Bucci, 67, Walton, Delaware County

 

Lyndsay Clark, 54, Springwater, Livingston County

 

John Dennis, 65, Lansing, Tompkins County

 

Michael Dineen, 67, Ovid, Seneca County

 

Lynn Donaldson, 72, Keuka Park, Yates County

 

Mariana Morse, 67, Caroline, Tompkins County

 

Read more about the protesters at: http://www.wearesenecalake.com/seneca-lake-defendes/.

Read more about widespread objections to Crestwood’s gas storage plans: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/26/nyregion/new-york-winemakers-fight-gas-storage-plan-near-seneca-lake.html?_r=0.

Read Gannett’s investigative report about the risks and dangers of LPG gas storage: http://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/news/local/watchdog/2015/06/26/seneca-gas-storage-debated/29272421/.

 

Background on the protests:

Protesters have been blocking the Crestwood gas storage facility gates since Thursday, October 23, 2014, including a rally with more than 200 people on Friday, October 24th. On Wednesday, October 29, Crestwood called the police and the first 10 protesters were arrested.  More information and pictures of the actions are available at www.WeAreSenecaLake.com.

The unified We Are Seneca Lake protests started on October 23rd because Friday, October 24th marked the day that major new construction on the gas storage facility was authorized to begin. The ongoing acts of civil disobedience come after the community pursued every possible avenue to stop the project and after being thwarted by an unacceptable process and denial of science. The protests are taking place at the gates of the Crestwood compressor station site on the shore of Seneca Lake, the largest of New York’s Finger Lakes.

The methane gas storage expansion project is advancing in the face of broad public opposition and unresolved questions about geological instabilities, fault lines, and possible salinization of the lake, which serves as a source of drinking water for 100,000 people. Crestwood has indicated that it intends to make Seneca Lake the gas storage and transportation hub for the northeast, as part of the gas industry’s planned expansion of infrastructure across the region.Note that the WE ARE SENECA LAKE protest is to stop the expansion of methane gas storage, a separate project from Crestwood’s proposed Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) storage project, which is on hold pending a Department of Environmental Conservation Issues Conference on February 12th.

As they have for a long time, the protesters are continuing to call on President Obama, U.S. Senators Schumer and Gillibrand, Governor Cuomo, and Congressman Reed to intervene on behalf of the community and halt the dangerous project. In spite of overwhelming opposition, grave geological and public health concerns, Crestwood has federal approval to move forward with plans to store highly pressurized, explosive gas in abandoned salt caverns on the west side of Seneca Lake. While the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has temporarily halted plans to stockpile propane and butane (LPG) in nearby caverns—out of ongoing concerns for safety, health, and the environment—Crestwood is actively constructing infrastructure for the storage of two billion cubic feet of methane (natural gas), with the blessing of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

More background, including about the broad extent of the opposition from hundreds of wineries and more than a dozen local municipalities, is available on the We Are Seneca Lake website at http://www.wearesenecalake.com/press-kit/.

#  #  #

 Posted by at 6:10 pm

2016: Year of Climate Action

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Jan 112016
 

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2016: Year Of Climate Action

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 Posted by at 12:15 pm

Santa, Grinch join forces: both arrested at the gates of Crestwood in call for climate justice

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Dec 212015
 
Santa arrested at Seneca Lake gas storage facility

 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

North Pole residents warn world the end of Christmas is at hand unless fossil fuels are left in ground

Videos: http://wearesenecalake.com/santa-goes-solar-vid/

Pictures: http://wearesenecalake.com/santa-goes-solar-pix/

December 21, 2015 – Watkins Glen, NY – The Grinch, Santa, and his elves took a short break from their Christmas preparations today to visit the gates of the Crestwood gas storage facility to warn the company that Santa—and the world—is watching. His elves and local friends held signs saying, “Dirty energy = naughty, clean renewables = nice” and “Here comes the sun, go solar!” Santa and twelve others, including the Grinch, were arrested for disorderly conduct while stopping a truck pulling construction equipment. Their message: there’s still time to get on Santa’s “nice” list.

“Santa is very worried about climate change,” elves close to Santa said. “He paid close attention to the climate negotiations in Paris. Where will we live when the ice at the North Pole melts? The reindeer are already falling through the melting tundra in their feeding grounds. It’s not just an issue for us, but for all the people living near the coasts … as ice melts, seas rise. Santa does not want anyone to be climate refugees.”

The Crestwood gas storage facility proposes to store methane, propane, and butane in salt caverns under the shores of Seneca Lake. It is one of many projects, including pipelines, which aim to develop “new markets” for the current glut of natural gas from the fracking boom, committing people to using natural gas far into the future. Natural gas is primarily methane, a significantly more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide over a 20-year timeframe.

“I’m here today to make sure kids know who’s being naughty and nice,” said Santa. “Crestwood has been very, very naughty by promoting the use of natural gas, which is making climate change worse. The people getting arrested at the gate, on the other hand, are very, very nice and are working hard to protect all of us.”

“I applaud what protesters there [at Seneca Lake] are doing,” said Robert Howarth in an interview with Evan Dawson on WXXI’s “Connections” in response to news that the North Pole gang was blockading at Crestwood. Howarth is a climate scientist and was a Cornell University delegate at the Paris climate talks earlier this month. “Coming out of Paris, we need to be carbon neutral by about 2035. Natural gas, and shale gas in particular is a disaster to what we are trying to do to reach this climate target…. Methane is 100-fold more potent a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide when it’s in the atmosphere…. If we immediately move off of natural gas, it will buy us 30 or 40 more years before we hit that 1.5 degree temperature increase.”

Santa and the Grinch joined many friends from the area in welcoming the return of the sun at Winter Solstice, noting that solar panels have been particularly high on the wish list requests in the area this year.

“Seneca Lake and the climate of the world are more important than things that go blink or things that are swirled,” said the Grinch. “The people who stand on this line today show the spirit of Christmas is not far away.”

Schuyler County deputies arrested the thirteen shortly before 2:00 p.m. as they blocked a dump truck pulling a mini excavator from leaving the facility.

The thirteen protesters were transported to the Schuyler County Sheriff’s department, charged with disorderly conduct, and released.

Crestwood’s methane gas storage expansion project was approved by the United States Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in October 2014 in the face of broad public opposition and unresolved questions about geological instabilities, fault lines, and possible salinization of Seneca Lake. The total number of arrests in the civil disobedience campaign over the past year now stands at 452. Whether due to low natural gas prices or the ongoing direct action campaign, construction of Crestwood’s natural gas storage expansion has not yet begun.

The thirteen arrested today included:

  • Stefan Senders (Santa Claus), 56, Hector, Schuyler County
  • Charlotte Senders (The Grinch), 19, Hector, Schuyler County
  • Coert Bonthius (Elf), 62, Ithaca, Tompkins County
  • Krys Cail (Elf), 62, Ulysses, Tompkins County
  • Lyndsay Clark (Elf), 54, Springwater, Livingston County
  • Kim Cunningham (Elf), 59, Naples, Ontario County
  • Barbara Eden (Elf), 63, Ithaca, Tompkins County
  • Patricia Heckart (Elf), 64, Ulysses, Tompkins County
  • Gretchen Herrmann (Elf), 66, Ithaca, Tompkins County
  • Todd Hobler (Elf), 53, Buffalo, Erie County
  • Gabrielle Illava (Elf), 26, Ithaca, Tompkins County
  • Bruce Reisch (Elf), 60, Geneva, Ontario County
  • Gabriel Shapiro, 19, Ithaca, Tompkins County

###

 

Read more about the protesters at: http://www.wearesenecalake.com/seneca-lake-defendes/.

Read more about widespread objections to Crestwood’s gas storage plans: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/26/nyregion/new-york-winemakers-fight-gas-storage-plan-near-seneca-lake.html?_r=0.

Read Gannett’s investigative report about the risks and dangers of LPG gas storage: http://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/news/local/watchdog/2015/06/26/seneca-gas-storage-debated/29272421/.

 

 Posted by at 5:20 pm

Pictures from Santa Goes Solar Bloackade

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Dec 212015
 

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Santa Goes Solar

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 Posted by at 5:01 pm

Paris Comes Homes to Seneca Lake

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Dec 172015
 

Paris Comes Homes to Seneca Lake

We Are Seneca Lake Red Line Blockade

Marking the One-Year Anniversary of the New York State Fracking Ban

December 17, 2015

Delivered by: Colleen Boland

 

Five days ago, I marched in the streets of Paris with 10,000 other people from around the world—including three other Seneca Lake Defenders, Lauren Eastwood, Sandra Steingraber, and Lee Ziesche.

And while we marched, ministers and heads of state from nearly every country on Earth were huddled in a room on the other side of the city. They were working to finalize the first global treaty that commits all nations to efforts to curb climate change.

It’s called the Paris Agreement; some call it the Paris Accord.

In that room, surrounded by high security, negotiators were redlining the draft agreement. Which is to say, they were making the final revisions and marking places in the text where further compromise was not acceptable.

Meanwhile, out on the streets, ordinary people like us were throwing down some red lines of our own.

The long strips of red cloth that stretched down Avenue de la Grande Armée showed that climate change is an emergency. These red lines showed that climate change is a crime against humanity. They showed that, no matter what the heads of state decided, we the people will never compromise in our efforts to bring an end to the fossil fuel era by mid-century.

These red lines show that we understand the urgency of the science, which makes clear that a shift to 100 percent renewable energy by 2050 is the only path that limits warming to 1.5 degrees and leads to a reasonable shot at climate safety.

On top of these red lines, the Parisian marchers laid down red flowers. They represented the lives already lost by climate change and by the wars and acts of terror that an unstable climate feeds.

Here, today is our red line action at the gates of Crestwood.

With this red line laid down across Crestwood’s driveway, we declare that its plans to store fracked gases in abandoned salt caverns on Seneca Lake constitutes an emergency.

We declare that these plans threaten our water, our children, and our climate.

This red line is also a symbol of our resolve and uncompromising spirit as members of civil society. For the sake of life itself, we demand an immediate and just transition to renewable energy. Crestwood’s plans for gas storage expansion are an obstacle to that necessary future.

This red line also celebrates the one-year anniversary of New York’s ban on fracking, declared on December 17, 2014 while 28 Seneca Lake Defenders stood on this very spot.

This red line indicates that the fracking ban is not complete without a companion ban on fracking infrastructure, including a ban on proposed pipelines, compressor stations, and gas storage facilities.

This red line declares our solidarity with the people of Porter Ranch, California who have been evacuated from their homes due to a massive, ongoing leak of methane from an underground gas storage facility in Aliso Canyon. The red line protest in Porter Ranch, which took place last Sunday, is inspiration for our own here today.

This red line indicates immediacy. Our trigger for action will not wait for mass evacuation.

And these red carnations, laid on top of this red line, symbolize all those whose lives have already been lost to climate change. We know this death toll includes 71 fellow New Yorkers who died as a result of Hurricane Sandy.

And finally, with this red line we declare our intent—with renewed resolve—to protect life and prevent death. And to do so, we will stand in the way of fossil fuel expansion projects just as we have done for the past year and just as we do here today.

Vive la Seneca Lake!

 Posted by at 6:34 pm

New Yorkers mark first anniversary of statewide fracking ban with blockade at Seneca Lake gas storage facility, call for end to fracking infrastructure buildout Nine arrested in “red line” action inspired by Paris climate march

 Press Kit  Comments Off on New Yorkers mark first anniversary of statewide fracking ban with blockade at Seneca Lake gas storage facility, call for end to fracking infrastructure buildout Nine arrested in “red line” action inspired by Paris climate march
Dec 172015
 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Lindsay Speer, lindsayspeer@gmail.com 315-383-7210


Video: http://wearesenecalake.com/frack-ban-anniversary-vid

Flickr:  http://wearesenecalake.com/frack-ban-anniversary-pix

 

 

New Yorkers mark first anniversary of statewide fracking ban with blockade at Seneca Lake gas storage facility, call for end to fracking infrastructure buildout

Nine arrested in “red line” action inspired by Paris climate march

 December 17, 2015 – Watkins Glen, NY – Over thirty people rallied at the gates of the Crestwood gas storage facility on Route 14 Thursday morning to mark the one-year anniversary of the New York ban on high volume hydraulic fracturing – or “fracking” – and to demonstrate resolve to prevent further buildout of natural gas infrastructure that uses fracked gas from other states. Nine of the demonstrators stood in front of the gates to block a Crestwood tanker truck from exiting, behind a long red line holding signs that said “2014 – No Fracking: 2015 – No fracked gas storage!” and “The line has been drawn: no fossil fuel infrastructure!”

“I was here a year ago when they banned fracking, and I’ll be here next year if this gas storage facility hasn’t been stopped, for the sake of the Finger Lakes and of the planet,” said Jodi Dean, 53, of Geneva. “We have to continue to stand up against the fossil fuel industry that puts all of us at risk.”

Today marks the one-year anniversary of the announcement by Governor Cuomo, the Department of Health, and the Department of Environmental Conservation that New York would ban high-volume fracking given serious public health and environmental risks. The state of Maryland and many other communities have followed New York’s lead, and science and economics increasingly show the wisdom of this action, particularly as it becomes clear how much methane contributes to climate change. The Crestwood gas storage facility proposes to store methane, propane, and butane in salt caverns under the shores of Seneca Lake. It is one of many projects, including pipelines, which aim to develop “new markets” for the current glut of natural gas from the fracking boom, committing people to using natural gas in the future. Natural gas is primarily methane, a significantly more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide over a 20-year timeframe.

“With this red line laid down across Crestwood’s driveway, we declare that its plans to store fracked gases in abandoned salt caverns on Seneca Lake constitutes an emergency,” said Colleen Boland, who recently returned from the Paris climate talks. “We declare that these plans threaten our water, our children, and our climate.”

The red line motif emerged at the end of the Paris climate talks last Saturday, as 15,000 people marched in the streets of Paris. It signifies a commitment to holding society to the lines that cannot be crossed in order to avoid catastrophic climate change. Eighty percent of fossil fuels must be left in the ground in order to curb climate change.

The red line motif also was prominent last weekend as 300 residents in Porter Ranch, CA demanded closure of the Aliso Canyon Storage Facility. The Southern California Gas Co. field has spewed natural gas into the atmosphere since Oct. 23. It currently contributes a full one-quarter of California’s daily methane emissions. There have been hundreds of complaints from the surrounding community of headaches, nosebleeds, stomachaches, rashes, and respiratory illness from exposure to the gas and its additives. 1,000 families have evacuated. The company estimates it will take 3 months to plug the leak.

“Aliso Canyon is a clear warning to us of what can go wrong with underground gas storage,” said Tony Del Plato, 67, of Covert, “and how willing the companies are to ignore the plight of the communities around them, and the impact on the climate.”

Schuyler County deputies arrested the nine shortly before 10 a.m. as they blocked a Crestwood tanker truck from leaving the facility.

The nine protesters were transported to the Schuyler County Sheriff’s department, charged with disorderly conduct, and released. The total number of arrests in the civil disobedience campaign over the past year now stands at 441.

The nine arrested today were:

Therese Araneo, 64, Brooktondale, Tompkins County

Jodi Dean, 53, Geneva, Ontario County

Tony Del Plato, 67, Covert, Seneca County

Lynn Donaldson, 72, Keuka Park,           Yates County

Susan Kelley, 50, Hector, Schuyler County

Janet McCue            , 65, Hector, Schuyler County

Rick Rogers, 66, Spencer, Tioga County

Mark Scibilia-Carver, 63, Ulysses, Tompkins County

Peter Tringali, 63, Trumansburg, Tompkins County

 

Crestwood’s methane gas storage expansion project was approved by the United States Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in October 2014 in the face of broad public opposition and unresolved questions about geological instabilities, fault lines, and possible salinization of Seneca Lake.

Whether due to low natural gas prices or the ongoing direct action campaign, construction of Crestwood’s natural gas storage expansion has not yet begun.

###

Read more about the protesters at: http://www.wearesenecalake.com/seneca-lake-defendes/.

Read more about widespread objections to Crestwood’s gas storage plans: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/26/nyregion/new-york-winemakers-fight-gas-storage-plan-near-seneca-lake.html?_r=0.

Read Gannett’s investigative report about the risks and dangers of LPG gas storage: http://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/news/local/watchdog/2015/06/26/seneca-gas-storage-debated/29272421/.

 

Background on the protests:

Protesters have been blocking the Crestwood gas storage facility gates since Thursday, October 23, 2014, including a rally with more than 200 people on Friday, October 24th. On Wednesday, October 29, Crestwood called the police and the first 10 protesters were arrested. More information and pictures of the actions are available at www.WeAreSenecaLake.com.

The unified We Are Seneca Lake protests started on October 23rd because Friday, October 24th marked the day that major new construction on the gas storage facility was authorized to begin. The ongoing acts of civil disobedience come after the community pursued every possible avenue to stop the project and after being thwarted by an unacceptable process and denial of science. The protests are taking place at the gates of the Crestwood compressor station site on the shore of Seneca Lake, the largest of New York’s Finger Lakes.

The methane gas storage expansion project is advancing in the face of broad public opposition and unresolved questions about geological instabilities, fault lines, and possible salinization of the lake, which serves as a source of drinking water for 100,000 people. Crestwood has indicated that it intends to make Seneca Lake the gas storage and transportation hub for the northeast, as part of the gas industry’s planned expansion of infrastructure across the region. Note that the WE ARE SENECA LAKE protest is to stop the expansion of methane gas storage, a separate project from Crestwood’s proposed Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) storage project, which is on hold pending a decision from a Department of Environmental Conservation Administrative Law Judge on whether the matter needs a full adjudicatory review.

As they have for a long time, the protesters are continuing to call on President Obama, U.S. Senators Schumer and Gillibrand, Governor Cuomo, and Congressman Reed to intervene on behalf of the community and halt the dangerous project. In spite of overwhelming opposition, grave geological and public health concerns, Crestwood was given approval by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in October 2014 to move forward with plans to store highly pressurized, explosive gas in abandoned salt caverns on the west side of Seneca Lake. However, despite ongoing activity on site, Crestwood reports to FERC that construction of the methane storage expansion has not yet begun.

More background, including about the broad extent of the opposition from hundreds of wineries and more than a dozen local municipalities, is available on the We Are Seneca Lake website at http://www.wearesenecalake.com/press-kit/.

 Posted by at 1:31 pm