For Immediate Release
Monday April 25, 2016
Contact: Sandra Steingraber, firstname.lastname@example.org, 607.351.0719
Statement from We Are Seneca Lake on Crestwood-Con Ed Gas Storage Joint Venture
Stagecoach Gas Services is a dangerous, archaic plan that undermines Governor Cuomo’s climate goals and pits downstate against upstate residents
Watkins Glen, NY – We Are Seneca Lake denounces the ill-conceived venture by Crestwood and Consolidated Edison to jointly own four gas storage facilities that will deepen New York State’s dependency on dirty fracked gas at a time when Governor Cuomo is leading our state toward a renewable energy future. In addition, this alliance results in downstate Con Ed gas customers endangering the drinking water of 100,000 upstate residents, placing them on the hook for possibly tragedies and financial losses.
“At a time when Governor Cuomo has struck a bold course on climate, a New York energy giant is investing nearly a billion dollars to tie a fossil fuel ball and chain to downstate residents while putting upstate lives at risk—along with drinking water and climate,” said Sandra Steingraber, We Are Seneca Lake steering committee member.
Downstate utility giant Consolidated Edison Inc announced last Thursday that it had formed a joint venture with Crestwood Equity Partners to own three pipelines and four gas storage facilities including the controversial Seneca Lake storage facility where Houston-based Crestwood has been pursuing a massive expansion project. Con Ed will invest $975 million to own a 50% stake in the newly named entity, dubbed Stagecoach Gas Services.
“‘Stagecoach’ is a comically apt name for this outdated venture. In an age of Tesla, it’s an investment in the Pony Express,” Steingraber added. “$975 million would buy a lot of off-shore wind,”
For years, local residents have opposed lakeside gas storage expansion in the heart of New York’s wine country because this massive industrial project imperils the wine and tourism industry brings air and noise pollution to the beautiful Finger Lakes region, threatens a source of drinking water, poses a demonstrable health and safety risk to residents, and is destructive to the climate.
Opposition to the facility has been vigorous and widespread, resulting in 549 arrests for civil disobedience and 31 municipal resolutions, representing 1.2 million New York residents.
By providing cash to Crestwood, whose stock has been deeply devalued, Con Ed provides an antiquated gas giant financial life support and undermines New York’s Clean Energy Standard, as announced by Governor Cuomo during the Paris Climate Accord negotiations last December. The Clean Energy Standard mandates that 50 percent of all electricity consumed in New York State is to result from renewable energy sources by 2030.
Winemaker Will Ouweleen, of Eagle Crest and O-Neh-Da wineries on Hemlock Lake, said, “Con Ed is purchasing crumbly salt caverns to store pressurized, explosive hydrocarbons just at the moment when we are hitting cost tipping points in wind and solar such that they will increasingly undermine the viability of expensive gas infrastructure projects.”
He added, “And what kind of neighbor will Stagecoach be for us here in the Finger Lakes? Con Ed was just ordered to pay $171 million for briberies and kickbacks. Meanwhile, Crestwood has a terrible track record in North Dakota regarding spills, including a million gallon spill that made its way into a lake that serves as a source of public drinking water. New York’s winemakers have no trust in these two reckless players.”
We Are Seneca Lake calls on the Public Service Commission, Senators Gillibrand and Schumer, Con Ed investors, and downstate Con Ed customers to join us in opposition to this wrong-headed venture.
We Are Seneca Lake is an ongoing, citizen-based, grassroots campaign that seeks to protect Seneca Lake and the surrounding region from gas storage expansion by Texas-based energy company, Crestwood Midstream. Crestwood’s intention is to repurpose the crumbling salt mines underneath Seneca Lake’s hillside into massive, unlined gas tanks for three highly pressurized products of fracking: methane (natural gas), and propane and butane (LPG, or Liquefied Petroleum Gases) and to turn the Finger Lakes into a fracked gas transportation and storage hub for the entire Northeast. Our intention is to direct the future of our community down sustainable, renewable pathways.
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