Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

As New York Considers its Next Move on Fracking, Attention Turns to Proposed Gas Storage Facilities

Energy
As New York Considers its Next Move on Fracking, Attention Turns to Proposed Gas Storage Facilities

Gas Free Seneca

As New York State considers its next move on fracking, attention is shifting to gas industry infrastructure projects proposed for the state that may hasten development using the controversial gas extraction process.
 
Two such projects are proposed for underground salt caverns on the shores of Seneca Lake, in the Finger Lakes region of Western New York. They would involve large-scale storage facilities with new capacity for 88 million gallons of liquid petroleum gas (“LPG”) and additional capacity for natural gas, expanding storage to 2 billion cubic feet. Both projects are proposed by subsidiaries of Kansas City-based Inergy.

“They boast on their website and to their investors that they intend to build out an ‘integrated gas storage and transportation hub to service the Northeast,’” said Joseph Campbell, co-founder of Gas Free Seneca. “Right here in the Finger Lakes.”

Local residents, business owners and elected officials are concerned that the projects will jeopardize public health and safety and threaten the growing local tourism economy.

“I have spent every summer of my life on the shores of Seneca Lake. It is a peaceful, tranquil place, certainly not a place where you could ever imagine your health and safety being at risk,” said Gas Free Seneca co-founder Yvonne Taylor. “But if Inergy’s plans go through, I am extremely worried for my health and safety. And I’m not the only one.”

Since forming in early 2011, Gas Free Seneca has built an organization of more than 140 business coalition members opposed to this facility and collected more than 5,000 petition signatures of local residents, business owners and visitors.

“My sister and I are the seventh generation in our family to grow fruit in the Finger Lakes region. We want to preserve the natural beauty of the region for the past, present and future,” said Doug Hazlitt, owner of Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards. “The growth of the gas storage industry will lead to the decline of the tourism industry and I don’t think anyone wants to see that.”

The project has also raised concerns among elected officials. On Tuesday, in a near-unanimous bipartisan vote, the Seneca County Board of Supervisors approved a resolution joining State Senator Michael Nozzolio in asking the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to withhold approval of the facility.

“Putting one of the region’s most valuable assets, Seneca Lake, at risk of suffering irreparable damage is not only unacceptable, it’s also unbelievable,” said Stephen J. Churchill, chairman of the Seneca County Board of Supervisors Environmental Affairs Committee. “The general consensus is that this is a no-brainer:  it’s just too plain risky to move forward. I sincerely hope the DEC will listen and take action to stop the assault on the shores of Seneca Lake.”

Environmental advocates are concerned that these projects will lock the region into continued extraction and use of dirty fossil fuels and discourage the growth of renewable energy.

“When state officials tried to rush through fracking regulations earlier this year, they faced a wall of public criticism and an avalanche of public comments,” said Dr. Sandra Steingraber, founder of New Yorkers Against Fracking. “If the officials at the DEC expect to rush through approvals of large-scale infrastructure projects like this, guess again. They should be prepared to confront the same fierce opposition.”

Gas Free Seneca is poised to challenge approval of Inergy’s project in the courts, with the help of the nation’s leading environmental law organization, Earthjustice.

“After reviewing the application materials, we believe DEC has grounds to deny this permit,” said Deborah Goldberg, managing attorney of Earthjustice’s Northeast office. “Moreover, decision-makers in New York should seriously question the need for these proposed storage facilities, and instead protect the region’s resources and economy by developing carbon-free renewable energy in this state.”

Visit EcoWatch’s FRACKING page for more related news on this topic.

——–

Sign the petition today, telling President Obama to enact an immediate fracking moratorium:

 

David Attenborough narrates "The Year Earth Changed," premiering globally April 16 on Apple TV+. Apple

Next week marks the second Earth Day of the coronavirus pandemic. While a year of lockdowns and travel restrictions has limited our ability to explore the natural world and gather with others for its defense, it is still possible to experience the wonder and inspiration from the safety of your home.

Read More Show Less
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

By Michael Svoboda

For April's bookshelf we take a cue from Earth Day and step back to look at the bigger picture. It wasn't climate change that motivated people to attend the teach-ins and protests that marked that first observance in 1970; it was pollution, the destruction of wild lands and habitats, and the consequent deaths of species.

Read More Show Less
Trending
An Amazon.com Inc. worker walks past a row of vans outside a distribution facility on Feb. 2, 2021 in Hawthorne, California. PATRICK T. FALLON / AFP via Getty Images

Over the past year, Amazon has significantly expanded its warehouses in Southern California, employing residents in communities that have suffered from high unemployment rates, The Guardian reports. But a new report shows the negative environmental impacts of the boom, highlighting its impact on low-income communities of color across Southern California.

Read More Show Less
Xiulin Ruan, a Purdue University professor of mechanical engineering, holds up his lab's sample of the whitest paint on record. Purdue University / Jared Pike

Scientists at the University of Purdue have developed the whitest and coolest paint on record.

Read More Show Less

Less than three years after California governor Jerry Brown said the state would launch "our own damn satellite" to track pollution in the face of the Trump administration's climate denial, California, NASA, and a constellation of private companies, nonprofits, and foundations are teaming up to do just that.

Read More Show Less