When you think of the Finger Lakes region, you probably envision the lakes, recreational opportunities, state parks, wineries, and its beautiful scenic setting. However, local residents are envisioning a much different picture. They see the potential for contaminated drinking water, economic threats, and environmental degradation. If you are wondering what could devastate such a beautiful area, the answer is Crestwood Midstream storing 88.2 million gallons liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) in the structurally unsound salt caverns beneath the shores of Seneca Lake. So what's at risk here? Any spills, accidents, or leaks from the salt caverns or the brine ponds could degrade the drinking water for 100,000 people. The facility would require rail cars transporting LPG to cross an 80-year-old train trestle that towers 175 feet above a gorge in the Watkins Glen State Park. The park has over of 750,000 visitors per year, and aside from the potential disaster of the bridge failing, it is not exactly what onlookers came to see. Even under the best circumstances, the project is a massive industrialized project right along the Seneca Lake Wine Trail.
Aside from the potential environmental contamination and hindering the tourism industry, Crestwood's project would bind us to fracked gas, which we have already established is unwanted. Governor Cuomo set a major precedent by banning fracking in NY, and now we need to continue to push forward toward renewables and not take a step back by constructing an LPG storage facility.
Ultimately the decision whether to permit the LPG storage facility or not will be up to the DEC commissioner, once review of the permit is completed. But until then, residents, business, and municipalities are making sure that their disapproval of the project is being heard loud and clear. What started as activism by a few has grown into a widespread movement throughout the region. Over 350 businesses are part of a coalition against the facility and 30+ municipalities have opposed it as well!
Since October 2014, groups of people from all over the Finger Lakes region and surrounding area have joined together in peaceful protest against the storage facility. Some have engaged in civil disobedience and blocked trucks from entering the property. As a result many people have been arrested, but this hasn't deterred people from joining the fight. The effort to prevent the construction of the LPG storage facility will continue to grow.
You too can help keep Seneca Lake LPG free by signing our petition here!