Frontpage
Facebook

B9319844680Z.1 20151124110813 000 GQKCLRSHH.1 0

Buy Photo

(Photo: KELLY GAMPEL / Staff Photo)

Crestwood LLC won a policy battle that could bring the Houston-based company a step closer to storing liquid petroleum gas (LPG) in salt caverns near the southwest shores of Seneca Lake.  

But pending a final decision from the state’s higher-ups and perhaps the governor himself, the issue is far from settled. 

In 2015, activists had sought to open the controversial plan to administrative law hearings to challenge the integrity of the salt caverns and present evidence the project poses significant safety and environmental threats. Opponents also have argued that the project would degrade the character of the Finger Lakes centerpiece near Watkins Glen, renowned for scenic views, recreation and wine tasting.

After two and a half years, Chief Administrative Law Judge James McClymonds, of the Department of Environmental Conservation, ruled this month that officials have seen all the evidence and hearings are not required. Evidence already presented by opponents is included as comments on the project’s draft Environmental Impact Statement.  

The ruling is subject to appeal to DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos, according to Sean Mahar, a spokesman for the DEC. "The commissioner has the ability to adopt, modify or reject the ALJ’s ruling in whole or in part," Mahar said.

 

Officials from Crestwood could not be reached.

Joseph Campbell, president of Gas Free Seneca, said the group expects to file an appeal to the commissioner by Oct. 20. “The communities, families and businesses of the Finger Lakes have fought hard and have waited long enough. Soon, the ultimate decision will be in Governor (Andrew) Cuomo’s hands," Campbell said.

Cuomo has long been a proponent of the tourism-based Finger Lakes economy and especially the growing wine industry. 

Dozens of municipalities and hundreds of businesses have gone on record opposing Crestwood's plans to store 88.2 million gallons of LPG in the abandoned salt caverns. As part of coordinated and sustained opposition, hundreds of residents have gone to court to face trespassing and other charges after protests outside Crestwood's facility in the Schuyler County Town of Reading.

In May, Arlington Storage Co., a subsidiary of Crestwood Midstream Partners, announced it is abandoning plans to expand natural gas storage at the salt caverns for economic reasons. The company still maintains existing gas storage facilities in the salt caverns, and is pressing ahead with plans to add LPG storage.

Site Search

JLCNY Calendar

No events

Recent Stories

Newsletter Signup!

Signup and stay informed.

View Past Newsletters
Joomla Extensions powered by Joobi