Dec 052014

Feds give OK to expand gas storage next to Seneca Lake

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission says Crestwood Midstream can begin construction to expand methane facility

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission last week approved Crestwood Midstream’s request to begin construction to expand methane storage in salt caverns next to Seneca Lake.

However, word is still awaited from the state Department of Environmental Conservation on the company’s request to build a new liquefied petroleum gas storage facility in underground salt caverns in the town of Reading.

The federal commission regulates natural gas, while the DEC regulates liquefied petroleum gas.

Arlington Storage Co., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Crestwood, asked in a letter dated Aug. 12 for clearance to begin the project, saying it has satisfied all pre-construction requirements imposed by the commission when it gave conditional approval in May. The commission responded Tuesday that the request to begin construction was granted.

Comment from Crestwood has been requested.

As might be expected, expansion project opponents are unhappy with the commission’s decision.

“The implementation plan is a joke. It is vague with little detail or consideration for potential problems during construction,” said Yvonne Taylor, co-founder of Gas Free Seneca.

“It is obvious that FERC is a runaway body that simply rubber-stamps gas and oil projects with a total disregard for significant and substantial safety concerns and objections raised by scientists, communities and independent experts. The people of the Finger Lakes region refuse to be a sacrifice zone for the gas industry and for out-of-control agencies like FERC,” she said.

“Approval of additional gas storage on the banks of Seneca Lake sends the message that neither the state nor the federal government is a friend to the agri-tourism industry. These business owners, who bring billions of dollars into the region annually, see this as an attack on their industry,” Taylor said.

It is imperative that Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles Schumer, U.S. Rep. Tom Reed and President Barack Obama lead the way to a better course of action, she said. “We implore them to find that course and to find it quickly.”

Crestwood plans to build and operate a new underground facility for the storage and distribution of propane and butane on a portion of its 576-acre site, according to commission documents.

In August, more than 300 opponents of the expansion plan and plans to build an LPG storage facility protested outside Crestwood’s existing storage facility on state Route 14 along Seneca Lake.


 Posted by at 5:13 pm